We sat in near silence – your mother in a creaky rocker, and I, in a hard backed, cushioned chair. Sunlight fell from a window and held a frenzy of dust flakes. It was a Sunday, ten years since that Sunday in May. We smiled at each other, fiddled our fingers, avoided each other’s gaze. Your high school photo, framed in gold, watched us from the mantle: the same picture from the newspaper. Your mother asked about my wife, our lives in the city. How long would I be in town? She spoke of people whose names I could no longer put faces to and confessed that she still searched the wanted ads for jobs she thought you would’ve been good at. “I still can’t bring myself to buy cucumbers. He loved them.” She never mentioned the car accident, or how she had blamed me for your drinking again, and I never told her about that night, after you died, how you visited me and we sat together until morning.
~ Jason Irwin
Jason Irwin grew up in Dunkirk, NY and now lives in Pittsburgh, PA. Watering the Dead, his first full-length collection, won the 2006/2007 Transcontinental Poetry Award and was published in 2008 by Pavement Saw Press. Some Days It’s A Love Story won the 2005 Slipstream Press Chapbook Prize. Most recently his work has been published or will soon be published in Sliver of Stone, Poetry East, & Future Cycle Press’ anthology American Society: What Poets See.
Artwork: Puppet, by Hashim Ali