First Signs of Corruption
16 April 2007
She knew he was back by the sound of coughing
and then the sound of that hoarse voice calling
as if the Universe had only just begun
heralded by his entrance.
She dreaded the thought
of going to meet him at the door
and of not going to meet him at the door.
For a moment she hesitated, unable to move,
but then his voice came again and shook her
from the frozen spot on the floor.
She followed the smell of liquor and urine,
steeled herself, and faced him with a mock smile:
"Oh, I'm so glad you're home." She would say,
and "Can I get you somethin' to eat?"
and other such phrases from the distant past,
and he would usually grumble something obscene,
push past her, heading for the half-bath near
the kitchen door, stopping only long enough to say:
Yeah, I'll have somethin' to eat. I'm starved.
Assuming, of course, he was in a good mood,
which was only slightly more predictable
than who would win next month's lottery.
As usual, his trip to the half-bath was a noisy one.
And when he emerged from his sanctuary, having left open the door,
allowing the smell of his work to waft about the house,
he made his way elegantly, like royalty, to the kitchen,
sat down to the ready made meal she'd hastily prepared,
gulped it down like the beers he had earlier consumed,
belched a few times, each one more assertive than the last,
then made his way to the bedroom, failing to remove his shoes,
yelling for her to join him, as if there was some reason
to do so, but the world started whirling violently, forcing
him to close his eyes tight, and try to hold his head
before it exploded, or tumbled off and rolled away.
He was quickly consumed by a deep sleep, puntuated by snoring,
and she stood over him, as she'd done many times before,
but this time holding his heavy shotgun in her arms,
barely able to keep it steady.
© 2007, Satya J. Gabriel