the house across from my bus stop
is a temporary funeral home, but back when the Yankees controlled the town,
it was owned by a family whose daughter rode bareback
twenty-seven miles in the middle of the night to warn her
rebel leader of a lover that the Yankees were coming for him,
the Yankees were coming, the Yankees were coming,
the Yankees are coming, John, get out, quick!
and maybe she tripped and fell,
or her red cape got tangled up in her stirrups and ideals,
because by the time she rode into the neighborhood,
the houses were already on fire, children were already
crying for their mothers, and her John
was already hung up on the gate as an example
to the other rebel.
the next morning, the Yankees strung her
dead body up next to his.
no one ever told them life wasn't fair.
maybe that's why when i first tasted lemonade
i spat it out onto the ground,
and didn't drink it again until i was twelve years old,
and feeling biter and sour and in need of a little sugar.
when i was little, my sister told me bed time stories
to help me go to sleep, and that's why i love words and
stars so much, because she taught me how.
in seventh grade, my friend from preschool
committed suicide, and i never got to tell him
that when i was four i loved him and i just want to say
that aaron, some things don't ever change.
i think it's sad how people compare autumns to each other, like
"this year's batch of leaves didn't die as beautifully as last years."
or how when people pass by wrecks they slow down to look at this
sometimes i still find arrowheads in my backyard
from the Indians who walked there on the trail of tears
years and years ago.
i don't think life has ever been fair.
aaron, i wish i could have saved you, or at least known
that you were broken. if i did, i would have broken myself
into pieces that matched yours, then given you the remains
so you could be a frankenstein of broken people,
but maybe a little bit more happy.
but i can't do that anymore, because dead
people aren't happy, they're just dead.
because we can't all be paul revere, sometimes we just get to be
Mary Winther, riding out to save the day
and never getting far enough to make a difference.