His Change – Daphne Erickson

At the end there was change
in his glove compartment.
Quarters, dimes, nickels, pennies
tidily divided in a plastic container.

To return to the place where he was,
I ate all his Percocet and Codeine, craving
to know if it would make me want to live
or die. A bottle of his favorite scotch accompanied
him in his lonely afternoons as he listened to Rush
and Bill O’Reilly create his reality.

They ask how and I say, suicide, and they ask
how and I say, drugs, or he shot himself, or both,
depending on who asks.  I add, last week,
he was using, he blew his head off, and it mattered, somehow,
that they know this. . .
Every day I’m six or fifteen or nineteen or
twenty-six or twenty-six or forty-two years old and
I am responsible.

His phone becomes unlisted, his mail forwards
to me and they all wait for me to pay his bills.
Linda tells me talk to him so it seems like he’s still
here. I go to my lover, my therapist, my support groups;
all the reasons he thought I’d be ok.

I went to get the gun back, to put it in my mouth
to see how it tastes.  The police were supposed to keep
it for a year but they gave it to me anyway.  The lady
who bought the car let me keep his change; I use
it for my laundry.

People mill about.  A man his age sits five seats away,
waiting.  The clothes slowly tumble, tumble, tumble
and I aim, mouthing the bang, in case he’s watching,
and when his back hunches over to get his clothes I aim
at his head, silently, in case it’s him.

Daphne Erickson
is a survivor of severe physical and sexual abuse as a child and into adulthood and as a result suffers from dissociative identity disorder with several distinct personalities. This is her first publication.