Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Without Humor

by April Salzano

Some things are funny
after the passage of enough time, a lost shoe,
a toy rescued from the toilet, tripping
up the stairs, or over nothing, getting lost
and being late for the first day of a new job,
my friend kicking all the spindles out
of her banister like a deranged ninja,
then blaming a plastic horse for her broken toes,
my sister’s husband breaking up with her
on a legal pad note the day Dimebag Daryl
got shot, her mourning the latter
more than the former, the drug test
I drank six gallons of water to pass,
my near death from hydroencephalitis,
the earth tipping violently on its axis
then splashing back. Even that
is funny now.

But some things, no matter how
ironic, never reach that place. You will never
hear anyone say, honey, remember that trip
to London I put a lien against the house to take,
then ended up meeting my affair and ruining
our marriage? Or, remember that one time
our son was diagnosed with autism?
Or for another family, that trip to the zoo
where you balanced our only son on a railing
over an 11 foot drop, then bent down
to get something and he fell
into the African painted dog exhibit
and was mauled to death? The dingoes
ate your baby is no longer funny. I imagine
the loss that mother feels because I can’t not
imagine it. His arms over his face,
his body curled to protect vital organs. Pure
instinct surrounding inevitability.
The dogs, consuming easy prey,
people who would
later be called witnesses, screaming,
the man who couldn’t
jump in, one leg dangling over the edge,
his own will to survive keeping him
suspended like the zookeepers, in hesitation.

My son has stood on many ledges,
fallen, run away, gone under, faced his own
painted dogs, who, for whatever reason,
did not attack, but turned in retreat.
It’s funny how things work out.
And then it isn’t funny at all, but a result
of something so invisible you have
no choice but to be grateful.

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