Virginia walks into the river with stones
in her pockets. Smooth river stones,
small enough for hands.
I drive to the ocean with nothing
in my pockets. No name, no wallet,
no place to put my hands.
She knows the river
and she knows why she is there.
I am somewhere along the Pacific,
a cliff, a highway. Why am I here?
Fatigue, that’s all it is. Enough.
She wrote, I can’t fight any longer,
then stepped out the door.
At the payphone by the side
of the highway, I dial 0, ask
for the crisis line.
She is walking through the water now, ankle
deep. Then higher. The river swirls
around the hemline of her coat.
Hello? May I help you?
I crouch under the phone, ocean salt on
my cheeks. I want to die.
The eddies grow stronger, colder,
as she forges forward, hands still
wrapped around the stones.
Have you thought of going on a walk?
Or maybe a nice bubble bath?
I drop the phone, let it dangle.
Michelle Wing is a writer of poetry and creative nonfiction who lives in Northern Sonoma County, California. She is the author of Body on the Wall (poems), and co-editor of Cry of the Nightbird: Writers Against Domestic Violence, due for release in October 2014. She is aided in all her endeavors by her faithful service dog, Ripley.