Bloodline: for Diane Corkum 1955-1989

by janeeatonhamilton

Excerpted from my collection, Body Rain.  In 1989, a few blocks from where I now sit, on Laurel Street in Vancouver, my friend Diane was shot through her sliding glass doors near Hallowe’en night, when everyone mistook the noise of the gunshot for fireworks.  Eventually (many years later) her brother’s husband was convicted of the crime.  This is a solemn poem for Hallowe’en, and also a cautionary poem during this week in which we consider male violence.

Bloodline

1)

What we left unsaid is jabbering—

I haven’t enough ears.

The man who killed you,

who was he

with his bullets, Diane?

 

You loved me.

Perhaps it is the promise

of love I feel,

the redemption of arousal,

a giddy comprehension.

I was stupified, then,

you know I was,

pregnant, foggy as milk.

 

It is late, now, to understand.

Will you forgive me

my exile?

Saturday I stood on the shore

with daisies cascading from my fingers.

Diane, the ocean would not swallow them—

yellow was caught in her throat

like sorrow

 

Who knows this season

better than you?

Hunters rustle the undergrowth

in October.

In my yard the sumac

drops lit candles.

 

I would show you how to flee, Diane.

 

2)

Sweetheart

consider the pumpkin on the stooop,

the quick torture of its hide under my knife.

 

I have costumes in my closet

and we’ll go out like breath

this night, like perfect witch women

in our black hats. On broomsticks

our voices wake like bats.

Flow, flow,

darkest of hearts.

 

3)

You wait outside the gate,

an apparition.

I take your shattered chest

against my own.

I heat you and melt you

with the force of the living,

with the love of the living

for living things.