Grief in Perspective
we drive back from the hospital, and I
can’t talk anymore, he wants to talk. I
nod my head at all the appropriate moments, smile, laugh, agree. he
seems happy to talk about mundane things, the weather
his mother, my parents, how weird it’ll be
to go back to work after the last couple of days.
we pass playgrounds full of children, schools standing empty
for the day, pro-life billboards with smiling cross-eyed babies
unwelcome platitudes about life beginning at conception
reminders that the poor sexless little squirrel that died
somewhere inside me really was a baby
the grief that has replaced it is profound. I close my eyes
tell my husband we need to find a different way to drive home
we need to change our patterns of return for just a little while
please don’t ask me to explain. he startles out of his reverie
his ramble about the beer cheese soup his mother’s bringing over later on
so I won’t have to cook, the houseplants she’s had delivered already
how sad his grandmother was when she heard I was in the hospital.
he puts his free arm around me, wedges it between my neck and the back
of the car seat, I pretend he’s comforting me, that I feel comforted.
Gilles de Rais
despite the legends, he kept an impeccable house
even the tiny room where the children were kept
was bereft of any evidence of crime. the bones
were always immediately take out back and burnt,
the clothes and the shoes were cleaned and sent out
to be distributed among the poor.
he was only married twice, and both wives
were as guilty of the crimes as he was.
the first one died of a fever soon after
they were married, possibly from eating raw meat
while the second one, more careful
choked to death on a tiny ring wrapped
around a tiny finger.
it was because of love that he consumed both women
shared their pale, limp bodies with his guests
burned them in the pit out back with the rest of the
stripped, bloody bones—they wouldn’t have understood
any other kind of tribute, not from him.