Tuesday, February 21, 2012

February 20th, an Anniversary

“Today’s the two year anniversary of when we buried Nicey.”

“I know, I know,”

I say over your words.

I know today’s the 20th.

I remember what happened two years ago.

I remember her crying,

Your wife,

Who’s dead now too.

She cried.

And then died not two months later.

And then I cried.

But at Nicey’s funeral, I prayed.

Your wife, she wanted me to be a part of the service.

So I prayed.

Even though I’m white.

And you’re black.

And your ministers wouldn’t let me sit with them at the front of the church

Or speak from the same microphone.

Even though I match them in credentials,

Even surpass a few.

But I prayed anyway.

A little white girl behind a microphone to the left of the pulpit

and positioned on the floor.

Your wife, she cried.

She found me at the cemetery.

There you are, she said.

And threw her arms around my neck and wept.

There you are.

There we were, two years ago today.

February 20th

Standing at the grave of your daughter

Not knowing that not two months later we would be

Standing at the grave of your wife.

And I would cry

So hard

For this women who was like a mother.

A woman who still makes me cry to remember

Two years later.

Yes, I know what day it is today.

I know what happened two years ago.

And I will talk about it with you at the edge of the driveway

At the mailbox

Over the hedge.

Because our lives went on.

Theirs didn’t but ours did.

And so two years later, we will mention it.

Ask after one another.

And then say we’ve got to run.

To the dentist. After the dog.

An exterminator is coming by the house later.

Okay, we’ll be seeing you then.

And we will take our memories and shove them in our pockets

or drop them on the table in the alcove with the mail

And we will try not to remember that it is February 20th

That two years ago we buried your daughter.

Or that your wife, who’s gone now too,

Threw her arms around my neck.

And cried

And said there you are.