Donna Dallas

A Bullet Was Best

We thought she was off since
that time the shower ran and ran
and we came to find her
sitting propped up doll-like
a burnt down cig smoldering
on the edge of the sink

She’d shit in the shower
she was coherent
then somewhat later that year
her legs gave
they were well covered
as her track marks were

We didn’t notice her ankles
swollen like tree trunks
purpled to almost black
a vein burst into a firework
of mini blood clots
causing a stroke

In December she went missing
we found her sprawled out
on a door step
she was catatonic
wheelchair pushed to the curb
next to a garbage can
someone placed a bag
on the seat of it

We wheeled her
oozing
drooling
leaning
bag of a body home

We were happy with her
her wheelchair
her stamps that we used
to pay for milk and cereal
she couldn’t keep track
of them anyhow
and we were always so hungry
as long as she made it
home we were ok

June came
her veins so weak and polluted
she asked us to search
the back of her neck
we stared in sickened silence
yet she always found
a new vein
hidden
in the dry crevices
of her once lovely
curvy
bouncy
body

The following December
she went missing again
we searched frantically
it started to snow
endless velvety flakes
enormous and wondrous
walking in them felt magical
and surreal
the snow persisted
with heavy drifts

The teenager in the apartment
next door
found her wheelchair
near the steps that led
to the building’s rooftop

How in God’s name
did she ever manage to get up there
the effort she put into this

We still talk about it decades later
think always the same
a bullet was best

There’d been a loaded gun in the drawer
from some crazed boyfriend
who felt a single mother
with four kids
should have some kind of protection
we never went near it

Why she threw herself off the roof
to plummet five stories
and lay for 38 hours blanketed
under a glorious winter wonderland
when the bullet would have been
so much easier

 

Originally published in Anti-Heroin Chic

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