Target Practice | Literary Arts | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Target Practice

for Terry


The evening of my best day was the color
of early October. Dead
leaves. Broken telephone wire.
The smoke of a neighbor's burn pile sliding
down my throat like fake cherry cough syrup,
chipped teeth. Cheap alcohol, straight up.
It is the color of a darkened room, where
the TV screen light streams over your face. I catch
you, in the corner of my eye, as you mouth the lines
to Dawn of the Dead. You know all
of Romero's movies by heart, have a plan
for what to do in case zombies
ever really attack Pittsburgh.
You've written it down on graph paper,
in red pen. It's in your briefcase, the one with a broken
lock that you have to break into with a butter knife.
I can imagine watching
from our second story, cut off
from the world. Below us, the mass
of dead bodies, slow like cold
maple syrup. Sticky with the gore of intestines,
brains. I like the idea of only us
surviving. Never having to leave
the house. When it all begins,
I will remember what you've told me
four thousand times:
destroy the staircase first,
block the door.
Always aim for the head.

-- Christina Murdock

Christina Murdock was awarded the 2006 Sara Henderson Hay Prize from The Pittsburgh Quarterly Online, and her writing has been published in The 10th Floor Review, Collision, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Voices from the Attic. She died in April, and is survived by her husband, Terry, and daughter, Sophia. A public tribute reading of her work will be held at 1 p.m. on Sept. 18 at Kresge Theater, Carlow University. Sales of her book, Burying the Body, will benefit a scholarship fund for her daughter. Many writers featured in Chapter & Verse are guests of Prosody, produced by Jan Beatty and Ellen Wadey. Prosody airs every Tuesday at 7 p.m. on independent radio, WYEP 91.3 FM.

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