The Long Tail of the Day
by Bonné de Blas
Shut off the alarm at five. At six. Brush teeth, brush hair. Grab a coffee and donut. Drink a cup a tea. Eat a three-minute egg and toast. Drive to his house. Take the Metro to his condo. Take a cab to her apartment. Cut the grass. Trim the hedges. Rake the leaves. Arrange flowers in the yellow vase. Wash his car. Wash his back patio. Wash his back. Wash her hair. Sit together in the sun. Watch the rain fall. Feed his cat. Take her dog for a walk. Take her bird to the vet. Make a shopping list. Order groceries. Pick up groceries. Put them away. Go through his albums. Put on Bette. Put on Cher. Put on Pet Shop Boys. Put on Monteverdi. Rent a video. Rent two. Read aloud a book of poems. Read aloud the Sermon on the Mount. Read aloud the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
May His great Name grow exalted and sanctified
in the world that He created as He willed.
May He give reign to His kingship in your lifetimes and in your days,
and in the lifetimes of the entire Family of Israel,
swiftly and soon. Now say:
Bundle him in blankets and a striped scarf. A blue beanie. Woolen socks on her feet. Drive him to one appointment. Drive him to the next. Wait. Get his prescriptions. Order his prescriptions. Pick up her prescriptions. Buy weed from the neighbor across the hall. From the guy working behind the bar. From the friend of a friend of a friend who knows someone. Get the money from his wallet. Get the money from your wallet. Get the money from the trick’s wallet. Make soup. Make bread. Make tea. Pick up a pizza. Pick up a carton of ice cream. Buy another case of Ensure. Give him the joint. Make him inhale. Make him eat. Hold the spoon to her lips. The cup to his. Wipe his mouth. Wipe his ass. Change his diapers. Change her nightgown. Change the sheets. Buy more detergent. Buy more bleach. Buy more gloves.
May his great Name be blessed forever and ever.
Blessed, praised, glorified, exalted, extolled,
mighty, upraised, and lauded be the Name of the Holy One.
Blessed is He
beyond any blessing and song,
praise and consolation that are uttered in the world. Now say:
Air out the guest bedroom. Order a cot. Fix the sofa bed. Vacuum under the table. Under the chairs. Dust the shelves and the cabinets. The bookcase. The television and the VCR. Dust the photos of the beach party. The photos of the Christopher Street Parade. The photos of the trip to Disney World. Put the photos in a brown box. Leave the photos where they are. Wipe down the counters. Wipe down the stove. Clean the refrigerator. Clean the bathroom. Throw out the garbage. Wash the sheets and towels. Put them out. Pick up his mother from the airport. Pick up his mother from the bus station. Pick up her mother from the other side of town, at the gas station where no one she knows will recognize her or your car.
May there be abundant peace from Heaven
and life upon us and all Israel. Now say:
Come when his mother calls at two in the morning on a Thursday. At three in the afternoon on a Monday. Call the coroner. Call the funeral home. Call the newspaper. Call the florist. Call the church. Call his friends. Call your friends. Call his family. Call her children’s father. Listen while you are told you are not welcome at the funeral. Told you are not welcome in their home. Told you are not welcome in their town. Told you are not welcome. Told you are naught. Pick up a pen. Pick up a pencil. Cross out his name from your address book. Cross out hers. Cross out his. Do not stop to count the black lines. Do not stop.
He Who makes peace in His heights, may He make peace
upon us and upon all Israel. Now say: