Poem by Thea Rutherford
The following poem was written by Thea Rutherford, a volunteer at the Crisis Centre, and read at the recent “Night for Hope and Healing” If you would like your poem published on this blog, please submit it to the Centre.
Death of a Smile
By Thea Rutherford
Laughter emptied from her lips like trash
scuttling down a cavernous chute.
We all laughed; but hers overshot ours,
pelted from some obscure catapult.
Faster, louder it skipped octaves with
a rope longer than our joke had been.
A plume of exhaust, it misted into pure
air, smothering unknown sins.
We fell silent, savoring our comedy,
our worry-free youth, life’s ripening fruit,
Unsated humor rumbling in our bellies, loot
we had to unload; we did, our laughter
coiling up in rolls. She sqawked again,
muting our guffaws for breaths at a time.
She hooted and then her eyes bled
bright sorrow. Shellacked in shell shock
they glistened above her mirth.
I blinked away the haunting sight.
After our eyes met I shirked
the cavity of her vacuum howls;
dragged covers over the wells in her pupils,
I left memories smeared across her mouth.
Later, a rumor decoded her cackle
‘She had had no idea. He was her friend.
He brought his friends.’ And in a series
of endless moments that would never really end,
they fractured her smile into a constellation
of pieces, then pasted the collage rictus
on her beautiful shattered face.
The horror broke her laugh to convict us
of berries that do sour on the vine.
It makes me listen to laughter with clarity,
and eulogize the death of a smile.