Hank Kirton

Amy’s Arms

we’re in her basement
table cluttered with cans
a drying dying
bottle of whiskey
and her awful diet Sprite

I drink in chased shots
Amy a mix of whiskey and
warm flat diet Sprite
I see the red lateral scars
on Amy’s arms

I say something
and forget it
instant amnesia
but whatever I said
it gets her yelling

her face is a twisted grimace
and it strikes me as funny
I laugh
she doesn’t see the humor
she stands up with a shriek
and curses me

I’m trying to figure out
what I just said
I can’t stop laughing
Stop laughing!
she grabs a badminton racquet

wields it like a weapon
like a samurai sword
like a lance
with my name on it
I still can’t stop laughing

she hits me in the face
with the racquet
I stop laughing

I keep smiling and lean into her

I want her to blacken my eyes
break my nose
knock out my teeth

I feel the blood start
it runs over my smile
staining my teeth
I let it ruin the front of my shirt
she drops the racquet

Oh! Oh I’m sorry
I’m so sorry baby
she finds an old rag
presses it to my nose
Lean back
I’m okay

she hugs me and says
she loves me
when my nose stops bleeding
we sit back down
have another drink

so many years ago
the memory reminds me
I’m gonna die
like Amy
she died in a bathtub
in warm soapy water

she used her old friend
the razor blade
only this time she meant it
the radio was on
when they found her

it sounds stupid but I wonder
what song was playing
as her veins emptied
and the water clouded red
I hope it was something beautiful

not some dumb DJ
or obnoxious commercial
that might have messed up her soul
cheapened it
as it drifted away

I don’t go to the wake
because I can’t face her family
because if the casket is open
I might scream

I don’t go to the funeral
because I can’t face her family
because when they lower her
into the ground
I might puke

Amy, so long girl
I still can’t remember
what I said that day


From: Everything Dissolves

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