the beginning, she is against the idea of letting go of the thuds of
ice-covered hate that plunge through her veins, keeping her thin and
because for all she knows, counseling will uncover something icky,
ugly, something unremembered, and then she will be angry about the
and anger is something she already has enough of. Cousin Deanna stole
boyfriend. Brother Tim burned her books; father—where was father?
baked corn muffins and planted tulips and said things like Honey, you’re forgetting yourself. And
always she herself, Tanya:
boots, tears, stomping, wiping, no-one-is-listening, hear-me,
crumples the flyer—ten sessions free for unresolved grief—and thinks.
No way is
she unresolving anything. She says, No
way am I unraveling my onion for nobody.
of course Auntie Sylvia is persistent: Tanya
honey, you could enjoy things again; you could actually laugh
Wouldn’t that be good? A little giggle, a little joy? Tanya
number, not because Auntie Sylvia says But
things might even taste good again. The therapist quits after
sessions, saying things like no
willingness and unbudging.
days pass and there Tanya is again: broken, boots, blackened, thinking This always will be, but also wondering,
How long is the lifespan of a grudge,
duration of misfortune? She thinks if there were two of her,
she’d tell the
other it is long past time to be so clenched. She goes over to the
her long military surplus coat, the wool green one with stripes that
something, and says, Lets us two go
outside for awhile. She hangs the coat on a tree limb, still
on its hanger,
and rests her bony hands on the shoulders, wondering how to confront a
with truth and past and fright. She thinks the coat will cry. She
coat will ask for another chance. She thinks the coat will send out its
and say, Come to me so we can still be
pissed off together. If it does, she’ll kick it so hard.
Before she brings herself to speak, a shoulder slips from the hanger as the branch bends. It sways and bounces, while the wind rustles about. The coat is a heavy wool coat. There it is now, crumpled in the dirty snow. You, she says. Lapel still stiff. Stripes in a row. War.
Copyright © 2010 Stefanie Freele