Follow by Email

Friday, December 21, 2012

Poet Christina Pacosz on Cousin Lilian, Who Shot Herself at Age 43


Christmas is a challenging time for the poor, for those who are alone, for the unemployed. I recently posted "The Christmas Suicide of a College Professor." In response, poet Christina Pacosz offered the poem, below, about her cousin.

Lillian, Who Shoots Herself at 43, Speaks

Listen, when I pulled the trigger
I wasn't thinking about him. It
wasn't like what she says at all. What does she
know? My mother with her toothy laugh
gathering me up with the others
for our flights through the dark
streets to the dimly lit church
where we'd huddle around her
as she knelt and prayed the drunk back home
to sleep and some sort
of calm. The eye of the hurricane
was more like it.

When I put the gun to my head
I was remembering who I had been then
lost all those years. A child,
a foundling dumped on the doorstep, though
I had a mother and a father.
With him I was home somehow, don't ask
me to explain. But not before or since
have I felt such welcome, such greeting:
Come in, come in.

Whoever she was, I liked her. Finding her
was the thing I loved best about him,
but he ditched me. I was low class, poor –
you know the story – and he was moving on up.
I would be a drag, a weight, the millstone
around his neck. He married
someone else.

I had one boyfriend after another
and a daughter I hated, but never
that girl again who was at home
in her bones. Never
that girl again, loving
her home, these bones.

Christina wrote: "My cousin Lillian Pacosz killed herself. I don't know the exact date, but she would now be older than me, and I am 66.

I wish I still had some photos of her but we lost almost all of the family photos in that awful fire that killed my father. People have sent me photos they had but none of Lillian. Her mother, my aunt, took all the kids to the nearby parish church – her sanctuary during the days when churches were still open all night and women had nowhere else to go to avoid the violence usually still waiting for them at home."

Christina Pacosz's latest poetry book, "How to Measure the Darkness," is available at Seven Kitchens Press

No comments:

Post a Comment