by Mike Kilgannon
I left you on the carpet all weekend, avoiding the living room as if by some miracle you might just disappear, knowing, really, that miracles were in short supply in our house, and anyway were nothing more than conjurings, magic tricks. Water into wine, rabbits out of hats – same difference really.
Church had always been more your thing than mine. I liked the statues and the incense, the brushwork on the Stations of the Cross – but I had parted ways with prayer some years back. I wearied of asking for help that never came. Still – we’d had to go, even on that Ash Wednesday when you’d loosened my tooth with a closed fist less than an hour before. We did the offertory that day.
Clean yourself up, for Christ’s sake. We can’t be late.
Well. You’re late now. Late of this parish. My late husband.
The insurance men called it an Act of God, a freak accident. Not enough left of you for the open casket Rosary you’d have insisted on.
Three months you squatted on the mantelpiece, until the Good Friday I hurled you full pelt into the chimney breast.
Imagine! Me smashing you against the wall for once.
On Sunday night I braved the room, lit candles and poured wine as if preparing a Mass, knelt – not in penance, never again – but to gather up the fragments of your shattered urn.
On the third day, in accordance with the Scriptures, I hoovered you up.