Marie Howe


Last night, cleaning the counters after dinner, the girl said,

Would you want to know the date of your death?

No, I said, I would not want to know that.

I would she said.

Then she said, if someone killed you

would you want to come back for revenge?

No, I said, I’d rather come back to the people I loved.

What if you came back to someone and they’d forgotten you? she said

I’d tell them I loved them anyway, I said,

What if they said Who?

I scrubbed the pans for a while.

That night we decided to watch something other than the murder mysteries

we’d been watching for months

and chose an Edith Wharton adaptation,

wealthy young American girls flocking to England to acquire husbands

– every single one of them chose the wrong man. 

Why do they all do that? I said from the couch;

and from the pink chair she said, Mom there wouldn’t be any story

if they all chose well.

By the time the first episode was over we were in darkness,

both of us, wrapped in blankets shouting No no no no

when the last most vibrant girl agreed to marry the rich sop.

The credits rolled. 17 seconds to the next episode 16, 15, 14,

Another one, she said.

Sure. I said, looking at the clock.                   And she clicked.