You saved my life he says I owe you everything.
You dont, I say, you dont owe me squat, lets just get going, lets just get gone, but hes
keeps saying I owe you, says Your shoes are filling with your own damn blood,
you must want something, just tell me, and its yours.
But I cant look at him, can hardly speak,
I took the bullet for all the wrong reasons, Id just as soon kill you myself, I say.
You keep saying I owe you, I owe but you say the same thing every time.
Lets not talk about it, lets just not talk.
Not because I dont believe it, not because I want it any different, but Im always saving
and youre always owing and Im tired of asking to settle the debt.
You never mean it anyway, not really, and it only makes me that much more ashamed.
Theres only one thing I want, dont make me say it, just get me bandages, Im bleeding,
Im not just making conversation.
Theres smashed glass glittering everywhere like stars. Its a Western, Henry,
its a downright shoot-em-up. Weve made a graveyard out of the bone white afternoon.
Its another wrong-man-dies scenario
and we keep doing it, Henry, keep saying until we get it right
but we always win and we never quit, see, weve won again, here we are at the place
where I get to beg for it
where I get to say Please, for just one night, will you lay down next to me, we can leave our
clothes on, we can stay all buttoned up?
or will I say
Roll over and let me fuck you till you puke, Henry, you owe me this much, you can indulge me
this at least, cant you? but we both know how it goes. I say I want you inside me
and you hold my head underwater, I say I want you inside me
and you split me open with a knife. Im battling monsters, half-monkey, half-tarantula,
Im pulling you out of the burning buildings and you say Ill give you anything.
But you never come through.
Give me bullet power. Give me power over angels. Even when youre standing up
you look like youre lying down, but will you let me kiss your neck, baby? Do I have to
tie your arms down?
Do I have to stick my tongue in your mouth like the hand of a thief, like a burglary
like its just another petty theft? It makes me tired, Henry. Do you see what I mean?
Do you see what Im getting at?
You swallowing matches and suddenly Im yelling Strike me. Strike anywhere.
I swear, I end up feeling empty, like youve taken something out of me, and I have to search
my body for the scars, thinking
Did he find that one last tender place to sink his teeth in? I know you want me to say it, Henry,
its in the script, you want me to say Lie down on the bed, youre all I ever wanted
and worth dying for too
but I think Id rather keep the bullet this time. Its mine, you cant have it, see,
Im not giving it up. This way you still owe me, and thats
as good as anything.
You cant get out of this one, Henry, you cant get it out of me, and with this bullet
lodged in my chest, covered with your name, I will turn myself into a gun, because
its all I have,
because Im hungry and hollow and just want something to call my own. Ill be your
slaughterhouse, your killing floor, your morgue and final resting, walking around with this
bullet inside me
cause I couldnt make you love me and Im tired of pulling your teeth. Dont you see, its like
Ive swallowed your house keys, and it feels so natural, like the bullet was already there,
like its been waiting inside me the whole time.
Do you want it? Do you want anything I have? Will you throw me to the ground
like you mean it, reach inside and wrestle it out with your bare hands?
If you love me, Henry, you dont love me in a way I understand.
Do you know how it ends? Do you feel lucky? Do you want to go home now?
Theres a bottle of whiskey in the trunk of the Chevy and a dead man at our feet
staring up at us like were something interesting.
This is where the evening splits in half, Henry, love or death. Grab an end, pull hard,
and make a wish.
"Wishbone" first appeared in Many Mountains Moving, Volume II, Number 3. The work appears here by permission of the author.
Original Graphic Image, "Blue Love" © 2000 by Jim Davis-Rosenthal