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Alternate Ending

Interpretation by Mary Ellen West

There’s no denying it. We talk to ourselves. Sometimes out loud in the grocery store where people give us funny looks as if they never, ever do such things, and sometimes quietly within our own heads, the words never, ever spoken aloud. I straddle the line between introvert and extrovert so I’ve been known to do both, the latter, at times, regrettably. I say regrettably because upon reflection I often think, well why didn’t I just speak up? I suppose because it’s not always that easy. I often need a minute to think my thoughts through. I am, at times, quick on my feet—but not always. So I go home and kick myself because my brilliant, well-thought out reply will never, ever be heard. This week, Mary Ellen West felt the same way about the protagonist of my “Give Her a Minute” poem. She wanted a different outcome. She didn’t want this woman to wind up starving, so she imagined—and wrote—an alternate ending, a happier ending, the kind that all of us, at one time or another have imagined for ourselves as we consider what should have or could have happened during those lost moments, had we been given just a little space to think. And speak. Give Her a Minute (Alternate Ending) by Mary Ellen West

She could not look at the group. She had to look away. As if on cue, a blackbird flew in through an open window, like a messenger from her muse. Holding a shiny ribbon in its beak, the bird circled above her, dropped the streamer on her head, and lighted on her shoulder with a subtle bow.

Reaching slowly overhead, she lifted the ribbon from her hair. in curving letters it announced, “Your minute awaits you.”

Emboldened, she climbed up on a chair and scanning the group she said,

“Pepperoni and sausage may be fine for you but pineapple suits me better.”

Your sweet juiciness fills me with unspeakable joy.

My teeth and tongue revel in your fibrous liquid texture.

Your pineapple plumpness pleases me.

Your upright crown of leaves stirs courage in my heart.

The golden yellow of your fruit resurrects my soul.

The room was silent as she levitated like Our Lady of Guadalupe and the scent of pineapple filled the air.

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