tragic stories

when i was 6 years old
my 3 younger sisters at grandma’s
dad at work our tiny little house
unusually spacious & quiet she killed herself

there arose among the shuffle of
assembled police, detectives & coroners
a story tragic suicide by shotgun flashlights

swept across the bed where recently
we both were lying one peacefully dreaming
one slowly dying of unknown suffering

i have almost no memory of her but
i know she was terribly frustrated & angry
that much i do remember vividly how
i first easily slipped out of my body

i was still in diapers had made a mess
& she was disgusted mad as hell
kept spanking my bare red ass
while i screamed bloody murder

& then i was observing floating
high near the bright window
where spring sunlight spilled in
& i knew i would always remember
this moment of calm & absolute safety

and that one day late in life
gathered with you i would share
the real point of the story which is
that very few things are actually true

that death is not the opposite of life
that one power courses through us all
and has always sustained our survival
has been steadily lifting us to this point

where pages scatter across the floor
& we fully relax into our bodies &
willingly open hearts release our death grip
on the burdensome stories we think are ours

now when we are offered
moments of grace
following wordless silence
let us be ready
to accept the offer

let us be present
to receive this gift

the one we’ve
frantically searched for
all of our tragic lives

until now

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 20181226

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