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  You could have a big dipper   

Grief as a Thing I Keep Giving Away by Hattie Jean Hayes

Remembering her deathbed

in the living room of all places

still makes me laugh.

It’s not a joke, but

a paper pearl

against my palmmeat,

flimsily remembered.

On impulse I ask

Who's the last person

you watched die?

and frighten the landlord.

Everybody smiles forgiveness,

except the ones who have an answer.

I think about the term baby weight.

It meant something different before.

I lift her hand to paint the nails

and think a corpse feels like a baby,

or a cat. More heavy than cold.

Her speech was supposed to go

quicker than it did. Quicker than

she did. It was gentle

and grotesque. It was

sudden and everlasting.

On the walk to lunch

I recall her toothlessness, her

acquiescence to indignity.

Then, shaken

from reverie by calls from a passing

car, I leave her

voice, the last thread

of murmurs, between

33rd and 35th,

on the west side of Madison Avenue.


Hattie Jean Hayes (she/her) is a writer and comedian, originally from Missouri and now living in New York. Her writing has been published in HAD, Hobart, The Daily Drunk, Belletrist Magazine and others. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @queenhattiejean

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