From the book to the bedtable to the floor
Her card slid – the one that in her simple hand
Wished me well in my journey, which for her
Was what a life was, a journey toward
Well, the end of the journey, I guess
It slid from the book I loaned her the night of our final riposte
When she tried to say what I said, and how it made her feel
And I said that it was for me to say what I said
And for her to say what she felt.
I stood tall in my autonomy
Though at the time I admit I was riding a bicycle
Across a thin strand of land suspended over the water
Each downward thrust increasing the space between us
Yes, is it not for me to say what I said
Do I not own my past as I own my present
For am I not now who am, at long last
The author of my story, the writer of my own dialogue
As God would have it, I guess, if indeed she or he
Is guiding my journey to the end
But then she said that was abuse, for me
To prevent her from saying
Even from saying what she said I said
For her right to say extended even
Unto my world, my past, my very soul
I quivered then, imagining the phone
The sheriff’s arrival, the tossing in the hoosegow
With a hardened unshaven dealer in death
Asking me my bid
Saying what I said I said, I said
That’s fucked up, he would say
These days, you can’t even say what you said you said
He said. What you in for, I said
The same, he said, I said what I said
Of course then I killed her, but only after she killed me
By saying what I said; that’s fucked up
I said, though I am guilty of the same
Being, I said, insisting on being, when it was my time to die
That’s why they keep us in these cages, he said
Epistemological crimes, narrative offenses, that kind of thing
When a man won’t lie down and allow himself to be said
That’s right, he said, there are those who say
And those who allow themselves to be said
Yes, I said, I said what I said, and now she’s gone
And can say whatever she wants, even unto what I said
I reached down and picked up the card which said
That she wished me well on my journey
To the end of saying, and inserted it back in the book
And was silent.