Cathy Dies
You haven’t killed yourself because you’d have to
commit to a single exit. What you wouldn’t give
to be your cousin Catherine, who you’d watched twice
in one weekend get strangled nude in a bathtub onstage
by the actor who once filled your pre-teen fevers
with lush-lipped Britishisms. Backstage, he talked to you
without his hairpiece and was unafraid of how your eyes
measured his skull. Law & Order: Criminal Intent put her
severed head in a bucket, pulling the towel back
on her clotted bangs a second before the cut
to Honda’s Year End Clearance Event.
And you swear that was her Cygnus-tattooed calf flailing
on the SyFy Network as the mutated piranhas
swarmed like sexed-up galoshes. Some days,
you’re convinced she’s the blur of the passerby behind
the city comptroller interviewed on the 11 o’clock news,
the last lighted window squinting on the high-rise,
the silhouette the pigeons spatter over
the elevated subway platform in Astoria where the bakery
underneath releases the ache of its scent
which anyone it touches will eventually die from,
the ache of how it can do nothing but ascend.
She’s been nominated for an Emmy for her portrayal of
the concerned line between your doctor’s eyebrows
as he listened to the giant, sodden moth trapped
between your shoulders, the ruin you carry
around with you like a speech you’re always prepared
to give. How you’re prepared to be Woman at Bottom of Ravine,
T.O.D. unknown, Woman Found in Motel Room
and It’s a Goddamned Shame, Understudy to Woman
Overdosing, Woman in the Prop Photo in the Wallet
Catherine takes out of her coat and lays gently on the balustrade
before the black sky pours down its scroll of names.
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