A Casual Tragedy  (for Brenna)
Haven’t seen her for almost a year
The plane falls
You get the phone call
So now she’s dead

First it’s an intellectual panic; the psyche is frantic
to spit up a flood of specific memories
shock and tears and mix it all just right
before it hits your face.
Throw in a touch of guilt now cause you blew it.
You were analyzing a response
as that initial moment passed.
Your face was unaffected and there were witnesses.
Now you start to recall.
  You see a brief picture, here eyes are there,
a few details missing, now her hair… Is that a smile? 
  The real process is beginning.
You brace yourself for the distractions,
consoling remarks, thin veils of tenderness.
  The picture sharpens a little,
but the others are really interfering now,
the living, who     say things.
It hasn’t been very long that you haven’t moved
and you’re not crying.
Someone bounces the word denial against your forehead.
  You focus in a bit closer. She is definitely smiling now.
Her neck is emerging from some shadow
and a room being drawn around the scene,
a room where you once slept, and she with you.
There is a hint of motion;
one of her arms is suddenly visible and gesturing.
  “Ok, I’m sitting down now”
  “Some time to think please”
  “No thanks, I don’t drink… no, I’m fine… really”
You’re not hearing the other side of the dialogue. 
  The whole scene is moving when it comes back to you.
Her mouth is active, her eyes glow and roll,
she is vibrant and young and much like you.
Her movements are those of agreement;
there is a conversation in progress.
Tilting your head, you strain your ears.
The chatter is undiscernable.
  “What are you saying?”
  “You didn’t even know her”
  “Leave me alone, damnit!”
And suddenly it’s her voice, excitedly sentimental.
  ‘Yeah’, she’s saying, ‘No shit,
  how can people think that way? It’s so selfish!’
Then your own voice, as if from behind you:
  ‘I know, it’s crazy. I hope I’d never react that way.’
  ‘I wouldn’t let you,’ she playfully taunts.
A slight chuckle…
  “What’s the matter? Are you alright?”
  “Nevermind, it’s nothing, I was just
	          ..…… remembering her”
That’s when it all comes back to you
more clearly than its original happening.

She was your lover for a time,
and you quickly, so easily
recount the beliefs you shared with her:
that grief is like suicide;
it manages only to connect death with your thoughts,
it holds no power among the deceased
and deserves none elsewhere.
The picture is complete in your mind;
it takes on meaning immediately.
She is still laughing…  you join her.
  “Just calm down, you’ll be ok”
  “I know,”  (with a smile)
  Your posture softens, your day resumes,
you pause for an instant to pity the mourners,
the irony adds steam to your confident grin,
  the tears never come
  the picture never goes
and you never bother to disappoint her.

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