Posts tagged "Death"
Send Out Succor

Send Out Succor

At six, I mastered Pig Latin, that clunky language inherited by children. “E-way ate-hay iver-lay or-fay inner-day,” my brother and I whispered, pretending to stick our fingers down our throats. At eight, I learned Morse code using a handheld flashlight our family physician had given me. With my thumb, I triggered short dits and long...
Second Language

Second Language

Rarely my mother passed away. Instead my mother died when I was eight. A way to say, this will not be easy. She lay on a pillow of gravel and grass, hands bound behind her back. She stood in the kitchen, a coffee cup from Hershey’s Chocolate World in her hand, and scolded me for...
The Burnt Plane

The Burnt Plane

As Jason Murphy’s mom drove us to the farm, I wondered how it would look now that his dad was dead. It had been almost a year. I pictured man-high weeds and rusty tractors, the house dark and empty, the giant barn rotting with its roof caved in and black birds flying out the broken...
Necrologies: Mothers & Fathers

Necrologies: Mothers & Fathers

BROWN RAT We only lived in the little house for three years. I still slept in a crib and watched Sesame Street while my mother did calisthenics. I do not remember eating or sleeping there. I don’t remember what the yard looked like. I do not remember my father’s shape as he moved through the...
Extinctions

Extinctions

Theresa’s mother is crossing the street, carrying two stuffed animals in her arms, and this is the most apocalyptic thing my mom has ever seen. Theresa was born with gummy lungs. After a while, her lungs got too gummy, and she died. Now Theresa’s mom is coming over to give my sister and me two...
Faithful

Faithful

Nobody can call in or out. Her father doesn’t want the ringing telephone to interrupt his wife’s dying, so the phone is turned off. When his daughters remind him that there are people waiting to hear, wanting to know, he roars, “She’s dying. They all know. When she’s dead, you can call them and tell...
One More Eulogy

One More Eulogy

–for Forrest Bartlett (1936-2011) I’d arrived a bit late, and the lot for the church had filled up. So I parked in a spot by the shady lawyer’s office, which was closed on a weekend afternoon. By the time I ran in, the tributes had already started, rough and funny and tender all at once, just...
Calcification

Calcification

Less than a year had passed since my mother died from a burst valve in a heart no one knew was faulty. That’s raw when you’re ten. And then Buttercup died. Buttercup was an albino guinea pig with eyes like maraschino cherries. She wasn’t mine. Samantha owned Buttercup, loved her. She gave the rodent a...
Never Seen the Like

Never Seen the Like

My three brothers, two sisters, and I carried our mother’s coffin into the church on a Monday in April and out to the flower-filled hearse on the Tuesday. We carried her on our shoulders, raised her up. People said they’d never seen the like, women carrying a coffin. Dad, he said, it made him proud....
The Cruelty We Delivered: An Apology

The Cruelty We Delivered: An Apology

I. We didn’t know what to do—your rocket energy sending Thai monks into fits, as they chased you through the Chicago temple, hands hiking robes like dresses, flip flops slapping callused heels. Your trouble made us roll our eyes and turn our back when you wanted nothing more than to pal around with us. You...
Hungry for the Essay: An Interview with Kim Dana Kupperman

Hungry for the Essay: An Interview with Kim Dana Kupperman

Contributor Christin Geall interviews Kim Dana Kupperman, author of the critically acclaimed essay collection I Just Lately Started Buying Wings: Missives from the Other Side of Silence (Graywolf Press, 2010), which received the 2009 Katharine Bakeless Nason Prize in Nonfiction from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Kupperman is the founder of Welcome Table Press, dedicated to...

Incisions

The nurse who preps my mother for surgery is kind. She wears clogs and a smock with balloons and rainbows all over it. Her hair is pulled into a high ponytail. Overhead, the TV is tuned to Good Morning America. The sky over America is popsicle blue. “I like your uniform,” my mother says, her...

The Gatekeeper

The Mountain Climber didn’t like to talk about the accident, but because she alone had witnessed the Skier fall off the top of the world, the press had no one else to turn to. What could she say? Without a word of warning, the Skier had plunged past her through the thin, alpine air and...

Come Back, Jimmy Dean

At my hometown community theater, there is a staircase that goes nowhere.  Two separate theater boyfriends have promised—threatened?—to have sex with me in that stairwell, and I put both off with excuses: those steps are filthy; we’ll get caught; I’m wearing a skirt; I’m not wearing a skirt. My living boyfriend, as distinct from my...

If

… the six pathologists at Colorado’s Air Force Academy had voted differently on the diagnosis of the biopsy from your cheek–the same cheek you popped with your thumb before shuffling cards for Gin Rummy, if they had voted four melanoma, two sarcoma instead of the other way around, if they had not voted wrong on...

After the Sun Melted

inspired by Aftermath by Elane Johnson After the sun melted on the top hat of the Mad Hatter with Alice, outside the window in Central Park; after your doctor refused to talk to you, when you were behaving crazy, because the tumor had spread to your brain; after the doctor told us there was nothing...

The Drowning

In July a boy drowns in the lake. * There is a picture window above our kitchen table and through it a view of the lake.  At noon, when we sit to eat sandwiches, the water is glassy and green, fracturing only when unseen fish rise and retreat.  The sand on the shore is pale. ...

Mortal Grammar

Lia got sick and then died. She was young. She got liver cancer. She’s gone. So is her black hair and her violin and the car she’d just bought. So are we. We left not long after. Before she knew she came up to the city. She wanted to have supper with us. It was...