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Jun 2023
i check the obits
every monday

and i see them pass
in the slow progression
of time and life
and death

gina used to get
four pounds of ***** dark
every two weeks
and we made
sure it was
pre-ground for her

i never met
her husband
but their names were only
a couple entries apart

a man named kevin
passed and it
bothers me that
i can’t tell you
his order but i could
recognize his face

clarence used to
lean on the
counter and try to
hit on me
stinking up the store
unwashed and drunk
until he got too incoherent
to understand and
i caught him slip
a pint in his back pocket

but his obit
gave me perspective
of what addiction
can take away

mary passed
i don't know the details
all i know is that
i miss waving
to her early
in the morning
dew still on
her flowers
and i worry about
john and hattie
but i haven't
seen them around

and estelle's dad died
i thought it must be
tragic and
unexpected but
al said that cynthia came
into the store the day
after it happened and
behaved really strangely
(not saying that something
was up but she sure
didn't act like a fresh widow
normally acts)

amy died
last november
but anyone who
sold her liquor
saw it coming
for years
on the horizon

i’d be lying if
i said there weren't
names i was
looking for
names i know
i'll see someday

but yesterday
was someone
i didn't know

she was exactly
one day younger
than me
married nine months
after i got married
just graduated
nursing school
she and her husband
had a house and
two dogs and a cat
and a life
looking foward

and she
lost her battle
with depression

it was like
my own

and i cried
for a stranger

johnny mandel
was a **** liar
suicide isn't painless
it's a pan of hot oil
that splatters
and spits
and burns everyone
who gets near it

my browser history
reminds me how
often i look at
my cousin's obituary

the obituary says
but word in the family was
she met a guy online
and it was a weird
double suicide
where they found both bodies
in a parked car
somewhere in

she was a year
older than me
lived to be nineteen
a year longer than her
older sister who
died "unexpectedly"

burning hot oil
through a family tree
until you put
a match to it

why is it unexpected
couldn't somebody
have seen it coming?
but maybe there were no signs

the grief i experience from
reading the obits
is disproportionate
out of control
makes me hopeless
and scared
add it to my tick list
of things i cry on the bus about

but i have to do it
i have to know

i know that life
is fragile and
time is unjust and
death is the meanest
neighbor of all
and i'm just clutching
desperately to
stay in control

by checking the obits
every monday morning
copyright 6/6/23 by b. e. mccomb
Written by
b e mccomb  25/F/chasing dreams
(25/F/chasing dreams)   
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