Radical Absence

Radical Absence

People gather. A jogger shakes his head, “That was loud.” Still in her robe,
one woman looks up, squints, “He fell past my window. I dropped
my coffee cup.” The doorman turns away, “I thought: a mannequin?”
Twelve stories above, a woman scrapes eggs from plates, wipes crumbs
off a counter, folds two linen napkins. Thelonious Monk’s Dear Ruby
flows from her husband’s study. She sings along: Ruby my dear, hold back
that tear. Below, blood haloes what’s left of his head. But let’s not
focus on the body—bones corkscrewed into concrete, excrement-
soaked clothes—no, let’s not focus on that. Let’s focus
instead on the woman singing: Your love has flown … You’re all alone …
Soon the doorbell rings. She leads two cops to the study, knocks, enters,
finds the window open, sheers gleaming in noon sun. For a moment
she thinks she’s walked into a burgled room. Under the lamp she spots
an envelope, her name in blue. Monk plays on. As she starts
for the window, she’s stopped by a shrill sound and, moments later,
knows it’s her own voice screaming. One cop calls for backup. The other
opens the note, hands it to her. She presses the page to her breast,
cradles her husband’s scrawled marks, “Thirty minutes ago
he said: I’ll finish my work, love, then we’ll take our walk.” The note’s
bagged as evidence. That night the bedroom window frames a starless sky.
She stands by their unmade bed, stares into his pillow that barely holds
an imprint.

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply