21 March 2011

The 2010 Homicide-Loss Survivors' Walk

The other night, I was told to remember. To pull as one would a tooth the memories of good in a loved one’s eyes, Christmas morning, Saturday’s yard work, hands.

Pulling a tooth. You are one of two kinds of people.

Yank it, or wriggle for a week.

I yank. Give me sharp pain, fierce tears, hard grief. For the time it takes tos ay

One Mississippi.

This week, I could not avoid. This was the longest Mississippi I’ve ever said.

Remember your loved one. Not the courtroom. Not the faces of the jury. Not the day it happened.

I am not a homicide-loss survivor, but I am a victim of memories.


I was sitting in the wooden desk with the little groove for a pencil worn into it. That orange-flower scented candle on the computer desk to my right, school book in front of me. The phone rang. I was eleven and home alone. My neighbor cried into the phone not to leave the house.

…I still don’t understand why men would kill themselves to kill thousands in a tower, city far from home and that it should put fear in an eleven-year-old.


I was waking to my phone ringing before the sun had risen. A friend I’ve never seen cry was crying in the dark on the other side of the phone line. His dad had, not hours before, died of a heart attack.


I was working on a paper about “Good Love” and how weak we are to portray it rightly. I received a text from a friend I’d not seen in four years.

“I’ve changed,” he said.

“I smoke everything, now. I do acid. I drink like it was nothing”


How strong, these people-survivors- are.

To see the moment framed by horror and yet choose the room, that’s full of good. Maybe if you were to wriggle a tooth, you would begin to appreciate all teeth a bit more. Appreciate its tenacity. Understand its reluctance.

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