*after “The Same City” by Terrence Hayes
It is unseasonably warm one night in early December
and I am still a young drama student not yet knowing
how long I will remember this. This is my chance to
prove my worth in the first starring role given to me
in a macabre comedy about rodeo and murderous
cowboys and zombies. In a holster at my side,
an antique pistol borrowed from a collection of relics.
For almost two hours tonight, I will find splendor in the
crash and bang, bang of my body cavorting like an outlaw
among the others on this stage, but I have been asked to handle
this heirloom at my side with care. To whom I am to prove
myself neither am I yet sure. Until this point I have not yet
considered to whom I owe what, only what has been
taken from me unfairly. Tonight I will go home from
our cast party with a boy and my life’s plan of becoming a
professional actress will end abruptly after our bodies join in
acts of passion that puts a baby into my unsuspecting body.
Let me begin again. I believe in things that are holy. Later
tonight, a baby will be put into my body by an act of love
I will create with a man I have reached out to for comfort
because of a history of love shared by us. There is not one
macabre thought in my head tonight about my sister’s body
resting one mile from here as the crow flies, and how
never again on this earth will her body walk among the living.
Think instead of Mary on her way to where, I do not know,
her plans arrested by the spirit for the work of her mortal body
giving life to this world’s most precious and lasting gift. I am still
a young woman when even before I suspect its presence,
a life is given to me that allows my life’s beginning.
Lisa Keeton is a third-year candidate in the Creating Writing MFA Program at the University of Missouri- St. Louis. Her work has been published in The River Bluff Review and at Kalopsia Literary Journal, and is in consideration at small presses nationwide.