volume seven | number two | fall 2006
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The woman in the next booth said you were already
turning purple when they pulled you from the wreck.
She didn’t know I knew you, minutes before
when your skin was cream. You and I
hadn’t talked since the fight so I didn’t know
your plans, that you’d be on that road, in that town.
Nor had she caught your name so I didn’t know
it was you, just that someone was dead
and that it probably didn’t matter to me because
I was seventeen. I was getting my hair styled
for my senior pictures. I was at the salon. I was dying
my hair fuchsia to shock my Mom, and I couldn’t wait
to show you, but you were being pulled from a car,
a white car, and you were already turning purple,
and traffic was lining up and your parents were pulling up
and a cosmetologist was massaging mousse into my hair
when someone turned on the radio in the other room
and provided a name to go with the news
and the woman with her hands in my hair asked me,
do you know that name? Your name, my best friend.
I said yes and made a joke about what a bad
driver you were to prove I knew you well and I said
you’d bounce back, you always did, and the beautician
took her hands out of my hair and said, no, you don’t
understand, it was fatal. I stood up, asked for the phone,
black plastic sheet falling towards my feet, I turned <>
to claim this grief I knew I could never earn.
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