My Mother’s Many Deaths Tak­ing a Stone

The Iowa Review - - CONTENTS - Steven Klein­man

She died of cancer the first time. The sec­ond time she was out of the coun­try. She left my fa­ther to gam­ble away our sav­ings and left all of us to watch car­toons on silent. Then my mother died of ether in­hala­tion, Zep­pelin on the stereo. I could smell it on her breath when the doc­tor called. She started act­ing weird. We were look­ing for some­one to hold us back. I drank a Dixie cup of Jack Daniel’s and went out for a drive, all the while my mother was dy­ing of old age, was hit by a car, drowned in the ocean. She de­vel­oped a brain dis­ease that made her mind a lit­eral sponge. She was oceans of grief and sad­ness that tried to wash us clean but couldn’t. That was the first year we didn’t visit at Christ­mas. Can you imag­ine? She was so lonely. We ig­nored her calls. It ate her alive. Then the worst death of all: a heart at­tack. Then she died of not go­ing to the hos­pi­tal. Then I ran in cir­cles at the park, drunk and throw­ing trash cans from the top of the metal slide.

I closed my eyes, and I was a wrestler. I was the Bri­tish Bull­dog. I was Rowdy Roddy Piper. Death was Hulk Ho­gan. Death was the Le­gion of Doom. When the cops came, I hid in ev­ery bush. I dropped out of col­lege. That’s when I yelled and pointed in ev­ery direction try­ing to lo­cate who got away.

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