Ronnie Drenger and I Receive Some Signs from God
Yesterday, Sunday, we got
the Times, read about the increase in
suicides in rural China.  Drinking
organophosphate pesticides, mostly.  In Lutou, a twenty-five
year old nurse couldn’t bring one of them back:
		I kept working on her, since
		I wished she could chat with me
		again while she pulled up weeds.
This was over
brunch on 2nd Ave. at 3 pm.
I’d already decided I’d
be taking Amtrak back within
the hour.  Walking back to 209 E. 10th

we saw an ambulance,  
doors open but no lights
on, no sirens.  The firemen who worked it
loading up somebody strapped down
to a stretcher.  Chicago Bulls  
jacket.  Blue jeans, black tongue  
sneakers still straightlaced, untroubled
by whatever must’ve happened.  The firemen
were calm, weren’t rushing.

Next block, a corpse being
wheeled into a funeral home.  Two blocks, two bodies—
What is going on?  What’s going on today?
—this one shrouded in grey rain tarp, tucked under the dead
weight of his limbs.  Tucked under its
limbs, a little, a detail that touched me, a little.  Corpse
accompanied by a man in black trenchcoat, wearing a Homburg hat.

I know.  But I’m not making this up:
What is going on?  What’s going on today?

At this point in the afternoon I’d
already decided I’d be taking Amtrak back within
the hour.  But their bodies, present, wheeled, had
something to do with how
the goodbye-kiss, eyes
open, stretched
over.  Didn’t end.  So that I missed
even the last train home.
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