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;

Nobody was.


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

Throbbing hot,

While his own, inside him, was still.