My Mother’s Many Deaths Taking a Stone
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.