[This week’s poem arrives later than usual, my apologies. Tomorrow would have been Amanda’s 35th birthday. It is the third one after she killed herself. I always wonder about that. Did she think of how many more birthdays she would not have? Or take last month, how many more Mother’s Day(s)? Or, since she committed suicide two days before Thanksgiving, did she think about that one? (Confession: I had to look this up, I’d forgotten the date Thanksgiving fell on that year.) Or all the new Thanksgivings after that? I had planned a menu that Thanksgiving. I heard from Mini’s dad in the afternoon. The next day I still went grocery shopping. I had a spreadsheet for all my items I made before I knew my sister was dead. In a really crowded market I answered the call from an organization that coordinates organ donation, and heard this man tell me that it was too late for harvesting to be viable. Then I must have gone home and cooked. Perhaps tomorrow I will cook too. I guess even if it doesn’t feel like it, we’re incredibly lucky to have so many more meals and days we don’t even have to think about before they’re already past us.]

 

The Meaning of Life

There is a moment just before

a dog vomits when its stomach

heaves dry, pumping what’s deep

inside the belly to the mouth.

If you are fast you can grab

her by the collar and shove her

out the door, avoid the slimy bile,

hunks of half chewed food

from landing on the floor.

You must be quick, decisive,

controlled, and if you miss

the cue and the dog erupts

en route, you must forgive

her quickly and give yourself

to scrubbing up the mess.

 

Most of what I have learned

in life leads back to this.

 

Poetry Ptuesday: The Meaning of Life by Nancy Fitzgerald
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