she came out at 9:30 a.m. in the morning
and knocked at the manager's door:
"my husband is dead!"
they went to the back of the building together
and the process began:
first the fire dept. sent two men
in dark shirts and pants
in vehicle #27
and the manager and the lady and the
two men went inside as she
he had knifed her last April and
had done 6 months for that.
the two men in dark shirts came out
got in their vehicle
and drove away.
then two policemen came.
then a doctor (he probably was there to
sign the death certificate).
I became tired of looking out the
window and began to
read the latest issue of
The New Yorker.
when I looked again there was a nice
sensitive-looking gray-haired gentleman
walking slowly up and down the
sidewalk in a dark suit.
then he waved in a black
drove right up on the lawn and stopped
next to my porch.
two men got out of the hearse
opened up the back
and pulled out a gurney with 4
wheels. they rolled it to the back of the
building. when they came out again he was in a
black zipper bag and she was in
they put him in the
hearse and then walked back to
her apartment and went inside
I had to take out my laundry and
run some other errands.
Linda was coming to visit and
I was worried about her seeing that
hearse parked next to my porch.
so I left a note pinned to my door
that said: Linda, don't worry.
I'm ok. and
then I took my dirty laundry to my car and
when I got back the hearse was gone and
Linda hadn't arrived yet.
I took the note from the door and
well, I thought, that old guy in back
he was about my age and
we saw each other every day but
we never spoke to one another.
now we wouldn't have to.
"the way it works" by Charles Bukowski, from What Matters Most Is How Well You Walk Through the Fire. © Black Sparrow Press, 1999.