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  • Jimmy Broccoli

The Angel Is Dead

“The angel is dead”, he tells me

… I turn away,

as my fresh tears begin to spill upon the cracked parking lot asphalt

____


Her hoop earrings are more yellow than golden –

almost matching her aging and leathery skin -

She smokes cigarette after cigarette,

as if fresh air is unwanted or is poisonous –

the room is still – 2 electric candles,

the only light in this otherwise seemingly unending darkness


“I can feel him”, she says

as the small round table between us begins to slightly tremble –

With both hands in the air – her palms facing me,

she pauses –

“I want to talk to him”, I say –

as the second-hand smoke embraces my skin and lungs,

like frost covers otherwise manicured lawns in mid-winter


“The angel is dead” she says, almost in a whisper –

as she slowly and carefully backs up her chair from the still-trembling table –

her eyes widen, like those of a child first entering a candy store –

but there is fear in her eyes – so apparent, I can see the fear in the dim –

yes, she is terrified…

____


The lifeguard blows his whistle as children throw sand at one another –

while others build a lopsided sandcastle with nothing but their hands and imaginations …

He and I are at the beach –

“Hand me my book, will ya?” he instructs me,

squinting as he attempts to look at me while blocking the sun rays from his eyes –

I put my half-filled glass of wine down on the wobbly plastic table next to my beach chair –

I then give him the book


Seagulls are beautiful creatures –

I listen to their constant squawking and am reminded of a handful of cherished childhood memories at the beach –

I watch the seagulls dance in the sky above the water – above the sand –

above the touristy pedestrian peer that intrudes into the ocean waters -

he squints and reads his book – as I sip wine and watch the birds


“The waves – when the sunlight catches them – look like liquid diamonds”, I observe,

He puts his book down and stares at nothing in particular as he looks towards the water…

The children scream happily as the tide begins to rise and threaten their sandcastle –

the fun of building – and the fun of watching it all be destroyed -

I smile at him with my widest smile –

“your eyes look like sparkling sapphires in this light”, I tell him

He returns my smile, as he begins to rub another layer of sunblock lotion onto his pale skin


As we talk and look out at the water, his book is forgotten –

it lays on the sand,

the pages gently rustle as a series of soft breezes blows them away from the cover…


A momentary hush falls over the sand-covered landscape –

as time moves slowly – almost at half its normal speed

“The angel is dead”, I hear one of the children say –

… the sandcastle has been defeated by the tide and is now flat –

“What did you say?”, I ask the child in a voice that doesn’t sound like my voice –

“The angel is dead”, the child says slowly and without any vocal inflection –


“Why do you say these words?”, I ask the child –

, then time returns to normal speed –

the children are laughing, as he looks at me intently –

his eyes sparkling sapphires

____


I stare at the cracks in the asphalt all around me –

the parking lot is deserted, except for me –

I stand next to a light pole –

the glow is bright – as it flickers unevenly –

the asphalt absorbs my tears as I stare at the cracks

____


She draws the death card – and it’s turned upside down –

“Your earrings are lovely”, I compliment –

“they are a brilliant color of gold”, I continue…

Her old-woman yellow teeth show awkwardly when she smiles…

“I can feel him”, she says –

“he is here with us” –

And, I know she is mistaken..

… I feel nothing

____


I rub my eyes as sand is getting into them –

the children next to me are throwing sand at one another –

the children see my expression and stop…

they run away laughing – and I pick up my glass of wine

it has bits of sand sprinkled within the liquid –

and it doesn’t bother me at all


I look at the seagulls above

– and watch as they invade the empty space in front of them –

I take another sip from my glass and reach for my book –

it’s a mystery – or it’s science fiction – I am not yet sure what it is…

The seagulls squawk above me as I turn the pages…

____


He stands next to me in the parking lot –

his arm is around me, comfortable and loving –

we do not see the cracks beneath our feet –

The streetlights are first illuminating for the evening –

The soft glow of the sunset slowly melts into the horizon –

as he holds my hand in his

____


An old woman with yellow, aged, and leather skin bumps into me with her shopping cart –

I smile at her, while reaching for a can of chili from the shelves –

“Have we met before – don’t I know you?”, she asks me

The can of chili is now in my shopping cart –

and I turn to her – her eyes are a lovely shade of hazel –

“No, I don’t think so – but your earrings are lovely”, I tell her –

“a beautiful shade of yellow – or of gold”


As I leave the store and walk towards my car,

I see her off to the side smoking a cigarette as she stares at her cell phone

____


Our beach ball needs air – and he and I find it hysterical –

“Our beach ball sucks”, I tell him – and he smiles at me, handsomely –

We, then, run at the abrasive approaching waves –

it’s high tide and we are knocked backwards from where we stand

A metal band will be slipped upon my ring finger before the stroke of midnight –

I look directly into his eyes – they are sparkling sapphires –

and they are looking at me

____


“The Angel is Dead”, the man behind the retail counter tells me –

“that’s the title of the CD”, he says,

as he speaks with a lisp, due to his overly large lip piercing -

“I’ll take it”, I reply as I reach for my credit card


The parking lot asphalt is cracked –

the light pole next to my car is flickering…

and it all doesn’t matter to me –

I slip the CD into my car player and lean back in my seat –

I listen… the music sweetly fills my car with beauty

Verse, chorus, verse

Verse, chorus, verse, chorus


An older woman – her skin yellowing and leathery – walks in front of my still parked car –

she looks at me suspiciously and I instinctively wave –

she throws her lit cigarette onto the pavement –

and keeps walking

____


I lay my beach towel upon the sand –

the children several feet away are building a lopsided sandcastle –

and then I lay on the beach towel –

before applying sunblock onto my pale skin


A man walks along the beach several feet from me –

with his feet barely accepting the incoming low tide…

He looks at me, as if he’s trying to remember someone from his past

… he is now walking towards me …

“I know this may sound very strange”, he says with a voice deeper than I expected…

“but, may I join you?” he asks me


I smile widely

____


The seagulls fly above – they dance splendidly with the sky…


And, he and I


and me – with and without him


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