> jumping into life.

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It was the year that I first fell in love.
We were fifteen. It is too young, but Death
has no care for convention. She is too young now,
and that was ten years ago, almost.

It isn't my story; I have been always on the fringes
of her grief. A witness to the tragedies
- some smaller and some great -
that enfolded the daily movements of her life.

It isn't my story; I have often fought
the urge to tell it, the urge to claim it,
have fought the guilt that comes of standing beside a body
while those around me are shoved to their knees

in mourning. We were fifteen. She was fifteen
when first Death came to her. Two days after Thanksgiving,
and I was away. The answering machine caught her distant voice.
She said My mother is dead.

She said My mother is dead.

After the funeral, my mother sent me back to school
for a geometry exam. I wore my black dress,
did not cry, got an A.
I learned to keep pity out of my gaze.

I learned that Death has no care
for equity. Life either. We were fifteen
when Death first came to her.
It was the year that I first fell in love.

I'm sorry.

i still remember walking into mr kostyshak's room after we got back to campus. i remember not caring if it was an 'excused' absence or not. i remember the attendance lady looking at us with a mixture of respect and sadness. n

cc - Thanks. And thanks for your comments earlier - I sort of feel like I'm processing now some old wounds and old memories.

Nika, milove. It was a strange time, wasn't it? I was glad then and am glad now to have your friendship through it. [hug]

(Udge, if you're reading - thanks for your kind thoughts, as well.)

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