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BellaOnline Literary Review
Tentacles by Christine Catalano

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What You Might Say When I Am Dead

April Salzano

You will say that you found strands of my hair
in the oddest places, wrapped around your big toe,
bluing it inside your work boot, connecting you
to your sandwich a foot away from your mouth,
hiding between bologna and cheese as if planted there.
You will say that I was small. That you carried me
in your pocket. That you fell in love with me, ass first,
followed by a lifetime of discovered parts to crack
open. That some of my mysteries were never solved.
You will say that I made you laugh, that I wrote you,
painted you into corners, descriptions you had no choice
but to assume. Superhero, action figure. Infallible.
You will say you looked for me your whole life, dreamed
me into being. That our story was a classic, like the old
westerns you had seen a million times over. You will
say I was a good mother, carried my children
up the steps to bed until they outgrew me. That
the squirrels and my Jeep were my best friends.
That I fired up my smoke and my heavy metal as soon
as I finished running five miles each morning.
You will say everyone loved me. That I glowed
when I was happy.

You will not say that you feared me. That I chose you
second. You will not admit to the pyramid of faults
I deconstructed, bottom first. That I hated
John Wayne and sometimes my sons. That the gunshot
noise of both was deafening. You will not say that
I was lonely my whole life. That I hated people
or that I lived and loved on autopilot, cruise control.
You will not say I lost my temper easily. That I never
believed in happy endings, or that I always suspected
I would go first. You will say that I am probably here
somewhere, waiting for you to find me again.