Telling Stories

A dancer on the roof spun

into her end. We saw her body falling

and a face pressed against the ground.

It can't answer.

Someone says: she must have been angry.

Someone says: she must have been tired

and sad and weak and strong enough

just to end, to stop spinning.

I’ve had her picture framed.

I keep it near the books I read,

the flowers I buy to make my room

sweet, fresh. We dropped

masses of white all over the grave—

the rain came and tore them away, so slowly.

Her brother calls from miles away:

I miss her, I miss asking questions.

We exchange stories. I speak to her each night

telling a story: Once, I wanted to die,

but didn’t. And then the leaves turned in the wind

bright, so new. That can happen.

Her face is always averted.

You can’t make the dead listen

as you walk out the door, return and say:

I’ll be back in two hours, just

wait for me. You can’t know

she’s gone already. Did I want to die?

I stayed up all night thinking of death,

then fell to sleep. Was she playing at death?

The brilliant lights glared

from everywhere, hundreds applauded.

It was hard to see. The performance is fast

and always new. Someone broke the tight circle—we all