I didn’t cry when you died in that fire,
you and your sisters and brother.
I didn’t cry when we saw the images on the news –
the charred remains of your house,
four stretchers with black tarps being carried from the scene.
I didn’t cry when we all crowded around the coffin –
one built for four – your bodies reduced to nothing –
family members wailing in disbelief.
I didn’t cry, because I couldn’t.
Your bright eyes haunted me –
that impish smile of yours
cutting through my soul
taunting me, as you always did –
your quick tongue and high energy
dancing around me, making my head spin –
raising my ire until I could take no more.I wish you were dead, Billy!
I’d said it out loud.
Said it in front of everyone.
Said it with spite and meant it.
Said it, only days before the fire.
I know they know.
I can tell by the way they all hold each other,
and cry into their handkerchiefs
and don’t look at me.
I can tell they know it is my fault.
I know it is my fault.
I didn’t really mean it, Billy.
I didn’t really mean it, God.
We were just playing around.
Billy and me, it’s how we are.
We were just fooling.
Billy’d always make me mad,
then we’d make up – everytime
Please God, make it not so.
I won’t fight with him anymore, I promise.
I only fight with him ’cause I like him.
You know how it is with boys and girls.
Billy’s my cousin. I love him.
Please send him back God.
I’ll be good and learn to tame my temper –
Mommy always tells me to watch my temper –
I’ll be good, you’ll see.
I didn’t mean for you to kill all of them –
well…I didn’t really mean for any of them –
it’s just something you say –
when you’re ten and don’t know any better.