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Soft Angel (Harder Ghost)

Kathy

Visiting in Dubuque, 2008

Thinking of her infected lungs. There is nothing anyone can do. The exhausting dreams that take all night and wake me up but I have only been asleep for 90 minutes. The aching spasms in my legs. The box of ashes on the chair. “Aspiration pneumonia,” the death certificate said,* from stroke-affected swallowing that lets [...]

Arroyo

Taos Valley Overlook

Leave the path

Nothing over there but air. I’m still sleeping on the sheets I changed to on her final weekend when I thought that she’d be coming home. I used to come to bed and run my hand along her hip to let her sleeping self know it was me. Three weeks ago I put an extra [...]

Luck of the Gods (Part II)

Kathy

In San Cristobal on her birthday, February 25, 2001

The wind is gusting over 30 mph now at 7,000 feet in Taos County. Barely budding branches whip and sway in the cold, dry air. Forty-four years ago on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, it was warm enough for sandals and the lilacs bloomed. The past is so close I can smell it. I’d give [...]

Luck of the Gods (Part I)

Kathy

Early February, 2001 in San Cristobal, NM (photo available here)

I was a piece of work. So much baggage. But all she felt when she laid eyes on me so many years ago was love. “From the very first, I knew,” she said, and repeated it every time she tried to lift me up. I used to get so depressed that she would cry. “You [...]

If You See Sweet Kathy

Kathy

Send her home to me

“Is this John? I’m Kathleen’s nurse at Taos Living Center. I need your permission to send your wife to the ER at Holy Cross. She doesn’t look good at all.” Me, buying lampshades at fucking Walmart, yanking my mask off to speak clearly into the phone. Everyone has disappeared, the world gone black… “I don’t [...]

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