The girls in the back seat make their animals do interpretive dance to the tune of Colvin’s “Suicide Alley.” They’re not listening and the words dance with the animals and will not settle on ears or come to rest anywhere near their hearts but if it were just the one, my own, she would be still, looking out the window, active, holding her Bella, listening and I would have to be ready for her questing questions about the meanings of words and i would have to tell her what it means to take one’s own life and I would have to tell her that nobody knows what it means to take one’s own life. I still don’t know what it means not to.
You are chatting with my big brother--your uncle, who wants to make cheese-- and cutting up a wedge of Tomme de Savoie, explaining to him how this one is particularly ripe, finding its unique, piquant funkiness, that sharp bite, little bits of mold all through its bloomy rind, and you are eating the pieces, bloom and mold and all, and I awake, punched through by an ache, dumbstruck witness to a growing I can not understand, can only stand under, pulled up by the roots from within me. Dirt falls back to earth. Dust drifts down to the floor. My mouth is full of clay— “Please, let her take her time.”