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.