To Free Yourself

 I’m sitting in the kitchen sink.

 Some rags, twisted and corded like sundried snakes, sit beside me and I’d like it if one of them was long enough so I could string it to the light fixture on the ceiling, hang myself and get this charade over with, but at the end of the day, I couldn’t do that to the kids.  Not that I haven’t thought about it.  Not that Duane would miss me a whole lot.  He keeps telling me I’ve let myself go to hell.

 “Why don’t you take those damn wedding pictures down?  Aren’t you ashamed when people come over and wonder who that is?”

I don’t know how I got here.  They say no little girl imagines herself growing up being a prostitute.  No one dreams of being homeless.  I sure didn’t figure on ending up this way, as this version of me.  Yeah, I guess this is me: Darlene Rosemary Schadle Hockaday.

How did I even get in this sink?  Blackout?  My butt’s so big that I’m stuck now.  Kids are fishing with their daddy.  When Duane gets back he’ll probably keel over from laughing.  Bet he’ll say, “I’ma leave you there till you lose enough weight to free yourself.  How’s that for a homemade diet?”

Duane thinks he’s witty, a card, thinks I don’t know about Lila and the reasons why he started trimming his beard and nose hair.  The poem I found broke my heart, not because it was about her, but because it was beautiful.

Don’t think I can’t see you there, Mr. Butcher Block with your black-handled knives.  I do.  I know I could grab the longest and shove it through my chest and be on my way home to meet my maker or the other guy that runs the hot springs.

Come to think of it, I will have me one of those knives.  It’s a stretch—it’s always a stretch when you’re my size—but I reach over and get a big blade.  I don’t even think about it, just set to work right quick because I know if I hesitate I’ll plumb chicken out.

My housecoat rips apart easily, like toilet paper.  It’s the meat around my hips that gives me fits, that hurts like hell, but even still I’m committed.  The blood comes in rivers.  I don’t care.  I wince.  I slice and saw.  When I’m done there’s a real mess to clean, yet it feels good in a queer sort of way, having freed myself.

By Len Kuntz

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