Why do we die? she wants to know. So you tell her about bodies that get sick and tired and no longer work. Like when batteries in a toy run out? she asks. Kind of, you answer. She's four and you're still young enough to believe that death is the long stone faces of Easter Island, a country that other people visit. Unlike Paris or Tuscany, it's not on your itinerary. Still, you tell her that toys aren't alive. Blood has to course through your veins, you have to breathe. You have to live in order to die. And it occurs to you that death is really more like San Pablo Avenue, its liquor stores and automotive repair shops shuttered at 1 a.m., sullen and silent, long pauses between stoplights. It runs parallel to your own tree-lined street. You don't really want to think about it, but everyone has to cross it to get somewhere else.
Alison Seevak’s poetry and essays have appeared in journals and anthologies including The Sun, Adoptive Families, Many Mountains Moving, and The San Francisco Chronicle Book Review. She lives in Northern California with her seven-year-old daughter.
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