Spilling

“Even if it didn’t,
we had to forgive it for confusing
salt for sugar, for what dissolves easily
in foam.”

Luisa A. Igloria, Epiphora.

I keep saying dying gets easier
with practice, but people don’t understand.
They give me such horrified looks; back off,
cringing and confused how those words could come

out of anyone’s mouth. I could recite
a litany of almosts and maybes.
The earliest, I don’t even recall,
but I do remember the aftermath,

months and years of, “Go to the extra fridge
and get your seizure medicine,” the cold
of the pink plastic shelf spilling out light
in the dark room. My mom had her own bridge

of a memory half forgotten, half
vivid. During the Depression, stealing
sugar from the bag, and hiding the theft
by pouring in what looked like more sugar

yet which was salt. The act was vague in mind,
but the beating that followed? Remembered
until the day she died. I don’t know if
that was the time that grandma broke mom’s nose,

but it was the beating she got lost in
when she told the tale, eyes focused
somewhere far away and so long ago,
and then she’d snap back to the ‘now’ and stop

talking. It’s very zen, the learning how
to grab and then let go of pain, as if
it’s a kind of game, as if letting go
is the first step in forgiving, the first

in dissolving the roots of memory.
It’s worth practicing. It makes things so much
easier, opens a space where something
unexpected can walk in, or walk out.

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