consequences of explosions by betty stanton
Consequences of Explosions
Fingers thick as sausages tap out a message on the windowpane. Three short taps, three long, three short again and then pause for a heartbeat before beginning again. The S.O.S. so ingrained in his blood that he doesn’t recognize it. Distressed, he remembers the rapid bracktatat of machine gun fire and one small plane, not a bomber, flying too close to the sun. Felled like Icarus, he spent eight hours in the Cuban sun treading water as his best friend drowned. Today, the rain threatens his window, drowns a row of his wife’s prize azaleas.
A Ryder truck packed with fertilizer and diesel fuel. One hundred and three miles away we imagined we could see the smoke rising. At eighteen hundred and fifty degrees his wedding ring melted from shards of bone and when they cut his wife open two weeks later and emptied her stomach they found sixty pills, one for every birthday she’d celebrated. When they found her three hundred pills had spilled from bottles around her body in a tribute to fourteen days of missing the beat of her own heart.
Your sister wrote out her suicide note carefully inside your birthday card and then signed the envelope with familiar script, addressed it to you, stamped and mailed it out to you just before the shotgun. She used the buckshot that belonged to your brother-in-law. I didn’t know what that was and so you taught me buckshot is used when you want larger game. Like your twelve-point buck, its head hanging sloe-eyed above your fireplace. You say it is proud. Like her ashes in their little urn, always reminding you.
BETTY STANTON is a writer who lives and works in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in various journals and collections and has been included in anthologies from Dos Gatos Press and Picaroon Poetry Press. She received her MFA from The University of Texas at El Paso.