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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Invisible Life, Rachel McKibbens



Jimmy went belly-up in the mason jar
My daughter tapped on the glass with a slightly interested fingernail
I nodded my head
My son ran into the hallway to investigate
"Jimmy is dead!"
He said, in our best deathly duet
My son shrugged his shoulders
"Well, I guess he doesn't get to have a name anymore."
He stood there like a grade-school principle
Staring us down in the hallway
I felt like crying,
"You mean he doesn't get to be Jimmy anymore?"
I asked, because I really didn't know
My son, plump with pity, looked at the jar then me then his sister
then back at the jar,
"I'm sorry, mom, but that's just the way it goes.
When you die, you don't get to be anybody anymore"
And all of my unaccomplishments
wrapped around my skull like a rock fist
"Yes, sir,"
I said and peeled the gold Jimmy suit from the tiny skeleton
and draped it across the palm of my son's hand
"Goodbye, Jimmy." I cried,
my daughter rolled her eyes
"No." said my son, sternly.
"Not Jimmy. You have to say goodbye death,
and then say a prayer for the invisible life"

Rachel McKibbens is a poet and published author from upstate New York. McKibbens is the winner of the 2009 Women of the World Poetry Slam, the mother of five children and teaches creative writing and poetry in hospitals and schools to at-risk teens.

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