Jennifer, Leave the Grave by Claire D. Mackenzie

This is an invitation.

You are in no position to refuse.

Walk into our odour. Step with caution along the befouled towpath, pausing once to admire the ironbound haddock woman, bedecked in the blue entrails of one-hundred failing fathers. Your mother.

Admire the wreckage, strewn across the sunken clocks of her adolescence, pooling in the sewers of his DNA – mother, father – spinning forwards, spanning backwards, forever backward.

Pluck a photograph from the time-washed tree. Notice her crossed finger – a wish, a lament? Her raised middle finger – a gesture, a love? Observe his trembling hand, his twitching leg – already one-thousand miles away, languishing in the council of fallen dads. There are no returns.

Can you blame him?

Buckle up for the main show. She is the film, you are the audience. As always. Lose yourself in the stumbling arrogance of her Mondays, the obnoxious bleach of her Fridays. Those bathetic, batwinged days of youth, of casuistry. Take a moment. Take an eternity. For she took your time.

Soon the weekend rolls around, on that ever-running reel, spooling the time in which questions were answers, answers were questions, and curiosity was the huggable stepfather you never had, nor never needed.

For you had her. She had you.

She had you, and she wouldn’t let you go.

Now you have to leave her. Now you have to stand up, wipe the formaldehyde sobs from her headstone, and get out of the graveyard. There are no mothers or fathers anymore, merely the spectres, stomping around in their fishnet stockings and surgical shoes, bitching about how hot it is here in the endless cinema of memory.

Close the gate behind you.

Copyright 2009

Author's Bio: Claire D. Mackenzie furrows the fields of fire. She sends bats screaming out into the night and tells the little lapwing children to drink bleach. Her tenure as the black-knuckled underling of Sir Cerberus expired long ago. She sticks around merely for the vista.