David Plumb

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Upon Hearing of the Suicide of a Former Lover

Once you rang in my ears
Driving west to New York State
For late night booze and jazz.
“You’re quick on the stick,” you said.

I see you, my blue-eyed X Ray Tech.Artwork by Gene McCormick
Child of  Doctor Campbell’s Cabbage Patch
Albany Med, Neuro and east
Where we met, drank, made love

On your front porch where I
See you lie.  Your mother
And father just inside
Anxious for our wedding

Your brother nuts in bed.  Sister
Pretty, yet suspicious.  Kid
Brother, a baseball nut.
We certainly were a haunt.

Now I see your fear after
Driving nights through North Bennington
Where I missed the curve, banged
the stone bridge and crashed 

Into the front porch of the empty house
How we drove off wild-eyed
Fixed our dents, chipped grills
Our total wreck a dance

I see you holding up your finger
To make a point from
The Newton boy’s lap.  From
The last days we held

Hands, from your small
Breasts that needed my child-self
To my fist swiping the party
The pain, the small fights

Until the until became real
And now I read where you
Mother of three ten years later
Hanged yourself in an attic

On a street I barely knew.
A you I never saw or could
forgive for what was then
I see you turn on the rope

Your tongue-thick death
Last breath held in silence. 
The long, thin why amidst
The because of then


David Plumb has worked as a paramedic, cab driver, cook, tour guide, and adjunct professor.  Writing has appeared in The Washington Post, Outlaw Poetry Network, Sport Literate, Gargoyle and One Paycheck Away.  He volunteers for An Alzheimer’s Poetry Project and is past director for a homeless shelter.  Will Rogers said, “Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.” Plumb says, “It depends on the parrot.”