Death Date

by A.M. Still


        There was something stark about typing the sum of a person’s life, “Birth: October 16th, 1954” and typing his death date more so “April 2002.” There was no one who, at the time of his death, cared enough to remember the exact day of it. Even his daughter, the traditional person of choice who should care, didn’t store the day away. She didn’t keep the day to be taken out, annually, to be polished with tears and memories. There was no one to hug the death date close to their heart and lament. Instead, the date was lost to the fog of a 21-year old’s bitter memory. The tears shed were for a stranger who coincidentally shared a line of blood. It would be years before the daughter would look at the hollow place inside her and question its existence. It would take a war, bad relationships, and the giving over of self to children to make her look. She gazed at that hollow place and was entranced by the nose in miniature. She gazed at the thrusting chin in wonder. She ran a finger down the stranger’s cheek with a ballooning feeling of love. She contemplated that hollow place and saw the date “April 2002” and for the first time since that shadowy time before a war, thought of her father.

A.M. Still is a writer and graduate student in the PhD Rhetoric program at Texas Woman's University. Stills holds an MA in English from Mercy College. Stills has never attempted publication before but has been writing since she could write. Stills  shares a home with her kids, husband, and dogs.

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February 2019

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