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The Happy Ending
We took all her happy endings,
All her ever afters,
Wove them together in an impossible knot
She’d said she wanted to sleep among them,
As if they were some goodwill omen,
Some excuse to God for all the mistakes she made.
She said she had made so many people happy
Heaven’s gates would have to open for her.
It never occurred to her that those people were just
Black and white characters forming four-letter names like
David, when she wrote so fast she left out the “i”.
That day, with her cold blank eyes watching unblinkingly,
Ensconced already in a sightless land,
We sewed the sheets together,
The pages that proclaimed in swirling script,
THE END, or AND THEY LIVED.
We wrapped her body in them,
Sealing her frail form with tattered promises so self-assured that
Most of the time we didn’t even realize
That we were swathing her in a paradox of reality,
Saving her in the fragile paper world she made for herself.
It refused to hold her up in life, so maybe it was foolish
To hope it would save her death.
But, heedless, we pulled that white thread through peppered pages
As if piercing her soft, yielding skin with brutal, stinging nails
Attaching her to the wood of her words
That promised her all she’d ever dreamed of, and
All those heaving masses of perfection
Turned on themselves, greedily sucking the joy from their own bones
Until their hollow forms fell like corn husks,
Empty and lonely and numb.