[Insert poignant + graceful prose here. Something that has to do with velocity. Something of which we know nothing about. An equation of that calls for force + impact to either bum you out or draw you closer. Something that deals with mechanical failure. Something that causes a car engine to rifle through multiple bodies. Something that leaves no survivors and draws millions of spectators. Something that makes it seem ok to say, “These are gross and unfortunate circumstances, but the city needs to find a way to take this publicity and use it for momentum.”Sisters identify their sister’s skin by their tattoos. They say the bridge looked beautiful that night. Thousands crawl in to light candles at a vigil thrown before all of the mothers of the deceased were notified.]
They’re always asking: “Who sits at your table?
Alive, or dead—who are you eating with?”
I wonder if they know Jesus’s first
magic trick was the water to wine thing.
I would invite Jesus to my party for that reason alone.
This is better than telling them how
the first dead body I knew was seventeen and swollen.
Better than asking if they think I should invite her if only
to apologize for gasping so loud when walking towards
her casket or to tell her I’m still hurt from the time when
we were six and she told me on the swing set that my mother shouldn’t let me wear bikinis.
I could ask her if she hangs out with Ray,
tell her I finally understand
why he was always taking such long naps. I understand
why her mother always looked so scared and tired.
I understand cancer now.
Better than saying I wouldn’t invite my cousin Bobby
for fear that Jesus would make him keep the stitching in his eye-lids
Sometimes they ask: “What do you bring to the table?”
But most of the time that voice is just me.
I wonder if I’m the one who needs to cook.
Is it appropriate to ask them all to bring a dish?
Do you think Yoko Ono would want to discuss how it felt to let men snip her clothes off over frozen pizza? (They never ask:
“What do you wear to the table?”)
Do you think Jackie Kennedy would say that’s how she wished she had gotten out of that pink dress? I bet that’s the only outfit she packed for heaven.
Maybe I could cut it off for her in the living room
after the table is cleared.
The last time I saw P before he died was at a dinner party at a hibachi restaurant.
I wore a white lace jumper.
After he died he appeared naked in a dream and told me that
next time we had dinner he’d make sure to bring ‘goodies.’
I bet P would show up with Jesus grabbing at his ankles to stall him and beat him to the door.
I bet before he got there all of the dead people were notified of the no pillow fight-ing with P rule.
I bet Jesus would say “he always takes it too far” when they asked why.
I’m very good at turning carbonara into scrambled eggs under pressure.
Maybe Jesus and I can laugh at this while
I paint his toe nails after we all wash his feet
with only our hair and tears. I wonder
what colors he’d pick, or
if he’d cry with me or
if Yoko would feel uncomfortable.
(the things her husband said about him)
Maybe, she’d excuse herself early, or maybe
she’d ask them about heaven. I bet
she wishes everyone had imagined
a heaven now.
The first time I saw P after he was dead
he was standing at the foot of my bed waiting for me
to look at him.
The first time I see P after I’m dead
I’ll tell him I’m sorry I rolled over and kept my eyes shut
until he left.
I wonder if he knows their hearses
were on every television channel in the bar
the day they got to come home. Or how Franky came in
just like he always does when he finishes
dressing up dead people. But
drank his Genny cans slower than normal and whispered
on the phone to protect me
from what he knew about P’s body,
speaking even softer to me as I opened each one angrily
in order not to weep, because there’s nothing
in the countless news articles about his
speech impediment. Everything
about worlds crumbling, nothing
about P’s ‘wew-arld’ and this
makes me want to take a hammer to everything.
When we get a minute during dinner I’ll ask him if I’m wrong for being upset by this, because its something that’s made me feel childish and unstable every day since.
If he says I am wrong then I’ll ask him for forgiveness, but if I’m right I will
flip the table over on Jesus who
only ever wants us to take his misery and
thank him for it and
I will smash every plate and scream and—
did you forget Genesis 4:9-10 and—
shave my head with my dinner knife and—
rip out my teeth and
lay my brittle hair at his dirty feet and—
the shrapnel of Jackie’s bloody dress, and—
the fact that it got so bad Yoko didn’t believe in heaven— couldn’t. Couldn’t allow herself to believe there could be a heaven
even though her husband is dead and
Jackie’s is dead and
Jackie is dead and
my fish is dead and
my car is dead, and
my friends are dead. And,
all anyone ever does before they’re allowed to eat their dinner is thank Him for rising when You and I both know He
And the dead do not get hungry because they are dead and we the living starve ourselves at their absences at our tables
force feeding each other bullshit about needing the energy but its not the way it looks is it?
crying isn’t always done the way you’d think. Sometimes it’s neighboring states and
the rule of the whole, broken into
three parts because
energy is a question who’s answer calls for like,
blasting The Final Countdown in a rain storm.
13 retweets and 23 likes: “a hairbrush and a fragment of tail light in the dirt @ the scene of an accident in Schoharie which killed 20.”
Nicolina Schonfarber is, for the most part, an Artist, Writer, and Over-Thinker currently based out of Upstate, New York whose pre-covid works can be found in projects associated with ImageText Ithaca, Puzzazz Magazine, and Oranbeg Press.