Friday, September 21, 2012

Bambi: A 3:00 AM poem

So, you guessed it. I can't sleep.

I wrote this poem for class, and I was going to wait until I work shopped it, but I really like it. So I'm going to post it now anyway, and if it sucks, it sucks.

However, I feel the need to insert a little back story in order for you to get the full meaning of it. But if you don't want to read this little paragraph, feel free to skip on ahead to the poem. It's more for me than you anyway.

Probably most of you reading this already know this, but when I was younger, my step-dad died. He had cancer, and they gave him six months to live.
He lived for two years.

Now, because of many reasons, mainly having to do with how I reacted to his dying (i.e. being in our apartment and dying, being sick and things), when I got the news that he actually had died, I didn't really feel anything.
And I thought there was something seriously wrong with me.

Then time happened, the way it always does. At first, a few painful weeks, then a few months, where the fact that he died was still there, but duller. Then it was years. And I never truly cried over his death. Not once.

Then I met Al. And I can't remember how long we were together (and it's too late to call him to ask, lol), but he was driving me home one night when he hit a deer.
We live in South Jersey, there are deer everywhere. I have been in at least three different car accidents involving deer hitting us or us hitting deer.
The fact still remained: after I made sure Al and I and the kid we were with were okay, I wanted to know how the deer was.

And it was alive. It had run a few good feet away from the car. It was dark, so I couldn't really tell how much damage had been done, but to me at least, it looked just stunned. I thought if we gave it a few minutes, it would get up and be fine.

Then we had to call the cops because of insurance reasons.
And two came, and without any warning, barely giving me enough time to cover my ears and close my eyes, one of them shot it in the head.

It took me a long time to figure out what bothered me so much about this incident.
Was it the officer drawing his gun, when I had never seen one?
Was it him shooting that gun, which I had never experienced?

The thing that bothered me the most, and I haven't really told anyone this, was that after the shot rang out, after we all jumped, hell, even after I went home that night and tried to sleep and failed numerous times, I came to one very disturbing realization:
That immediately after the shotgun noise came this weird scraping sound.
I always thought it was just in my head. That what I heard was some after effect from shock or something.
But that sound was the deer's hoofs against the street.

So what does this have to do with my step-dad?

I'll tell you.

Right after the cops told us that we could leave, we dropped off our friend, and Al took me to the wawa to get something to drink. We were quiet, and he had waited until we pulled into the parking lot at 2am to ask me if I was okay.
And I lost it.

I cried for the deer, and it's little deer family, sure, but what surprised me more was that I was sad and missing my step-dad in that moment. And I cried for him. It was strange, these two seemingly un-connected events connecting, but there it was.
And I said this line that shows up in the poem, which I wrote about three or four years after this event:

"It was still alive, it would have been fine."

And I thought to myself how many times I thought that about my step-dad. About myself. That as long as I was alive, I was okay, and  as long as he was still breathing, he'd be fine too.
But I knew it was a lie. Maybe not then about the deer, and maybe not before that with my step-dad and myself, but I knew it somewhere, deep down.

So After I went home that night, I listened to one of his favorite songs(I mention it in the poem). I always hated it, but I listened to it over and over. And I thought about deer and Jack and Dianne and my step-dad, and how I thought everything was going to be fine. Maybe it was and maybe it wasn't, but that deer definitely changed things.

So. That was a longer intro than i planned, but are you really surprised?
Anyway, here's the poem. Tell me what you think. : )


It was the summer, five years after
The Funeral.
We played a game,
Trying to guess
Which song would play next. 

You were always wrong
And holding onto sixteen as tight as I could
Only left permanent marks in my skin. 

You hit a baby deer.
The cops came
Before it could  stand on shaking legs
Shot it between the eyes. 

It was still alive. It would have been fine.

I never saw a gun before,
But I've looked death in the face,
Been closer than
That animal. 

We picked the fur
From your black bumper.
We fixed the dent
Good as new. 

It stared through the darkness,
My head ached,
My knees throbbed.

John Mellencamp was singing
About how life goes on.

But I still wish the deer had gotten up.

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