I still have twelve spiral notebooks of dated daily letters, all beginning
with "Dear Princess." Peter made Xs for the kisses and Os for the hugs.
He wrote ITOYOALYA on each, an abbreviation for "I think of you
often and love you always." I have seven videotapes, each dated, with
titles such as Margaux on Roller Skates, Margaux with Paws, Margaux Sitting
on the Back of the Motorcycle, Waving.
Peter would watch these every day toward the end of his life: Margaux
scuffling in the dirt with Paws, Margaux playing Criminal on
the couch, Margaux waving from atop a tree, Margaux blowing a
kiss. Nobody watches Margaux now. Even Margaux herself is bored
at the sight of Margaux in headbands, Margaux in cutoff jean shorts,
Margaux with drenched hair, Margaux by the ailanthus tree where
the white hammock used to hang.
I was Peter's religion. No one else would find the twenty photo
albums of me alone, or with Paws, or with Karen, or with my mother,
engrossing. The wooden box made in eighth-grade shop class contains loose pictures, and they are equally uninteresting. The two locks
of hair, braided together, brown and gray, laminated so they would
always last. An album of autumn leaves, the names of the trees that
they came from listed underneath: sugar maple, blackjack oak, sweetgum.
My glittery fairy wand, my tiny gray felt mice Peter threw out
in a fight but later dug through the trash to retrieve, the cast-iron skeleton
key we found by the boat docks; my silver bangles and huge fauxgold
cross that I got from the West Village, the tight black leggings
(my Madonna pants, he called them), my black choker with the silver
heart, my red lace-fringed bodysuit and the vinyl biker-chick pants
he got me; a book of Wicca spells, Nirvana, Hole, and Veruca Salt
cassettes for our car rides, bootleg Nirvana videos, also from the West
Village; cassettes with our four novels recorded on them (different
voices for each character); a wooden amulet Peter gave me of a fairy
looking into a crystal ball. All of this was stored in a black trunk with
a broken latch that he used to keep by the foot of his bed.
Peter, you couldn't walk more than a few blocks toward the end of your
life and you could no longer ride a motorcycle. You walked a little ways
to the edge of a cliff at Palisades Park and there you jumped and fell
250 feet, or so the Parkway Police report stated. You left an envelope in
my mailbox containing ten suicide notes and several statements on
lined notebook paper signing your car over to me. You drew a map for
me to find your black Mazda so I wouldn't be charged for towing and
storage. You left me a copy key inside the envelope; the original key
you left inside the Mazda's ignition. I was twenty-two and you were sixty-six.
Kenn Nesbitt is new Children's Poet Laureate(Jun 12 2013) Kenn Nesbitt has been named the new Children's Poet Laureate: Consultant in Children's Poetry to the Poetry Foundation, which noted that the two-year position...