I’ll Hang Around as Long as You Will Let Me
John Prine is dead on TV in the season before trees bear peaches, it’s like losing a lake,
Lake Marie, a world. I first heard him driving to Illinois for an abortion—two country
girls whose names I forget dropped me at the clinic between fields. The song had
abandoned babies in it but also sausages sizzling on a grill—not funny haha, but still.
Lake Marie, a world. I first heard Prine driving to Illinois for an abortion. Too country
& corn bred, the girls—not to have dreamed of blowing up TVs or singing topless. The
song had lost babies but also grilled meat—not funny haha, but still. That night they
threw a barbecue where I met their friends, let’s call them Waylons & Jennies.
Too corn-bred, the girls, but also with voices dripping peach jam who sang-a-long—Jesus:
No one asked me about the procedure, for which I’m thankful, it didn’t hurt much. That
night at the barbecue I hullabalooed with unknowns, Waylons or Jennies. How John
Prine leapt from a parking lot party to disfigured bodies in one deft verse explained love.
No one asked me about the procedure, the tiny vacuum of ‘what if,’ it didn’t hurt much.
Morning, we traveled the speed of loneliness home—singing with the intimacy of strangers—
how Prine leapt from a party to disfigured bodies in one verse, gave me words. Buried in
Lake Marie was an homage to Richard Berry you could miss if you didn’t know ‘We gotta go.’
I was a level-headed dancer, then, on the road to alcohol—how did John Prine know the
girls’ names I don’t know? They dropped me at the clinic between fields. The song said blood
looks like a shadow, exactly–& somehow his DNA caught in the warp of my woof. Goodbye
girls, Fragile & Frail, who for all I know now got hit by a train on the way to jail. John Prine lies
dead on my tongue a season prior to peach trees blooming, it’s like losing the world in a song.