7 December 2012
Stroke by Zoe Taylor
Stroke by Zoe Taylor (23)
Because he loved them
He could not let them see him broken.
He took the gun from the drawer
And pressed it to his skull.
Perhaps his life skittered before his eyes,
Bright as a hummingbird’s wing.
I don’t know, I wasn’t there;
Perhaps he saw his wife who always stood beside him
Like a tall, dark tree,
Her branches reaching out, instinctively.
Perhaps he saw himself in the canoe, streaking across the yard
Flooded with winter’s water,
To rescue the white chickens
Drowning in the coop.
His little sister peering out at him
Through the flyscreen window,
Knowing there was no greater hero.
Did he see, as his finger curled round the trigger,
Like a closing apostrophe,
The end of everyone’s life?
Or his daughter an ivory vase
Who would walk alone down the aisle,
Or his son’s vacant eyes and beaten smile
Who found him at home in the hallway,
On the floor
On the walls,
Soaked into the carpet,
A black heart lying beside him
While his own, inside him, was still.