I saw a picture of you today, although I can’t be certain when it was taken, and while I can easily say that you look exactly as I remember you, that is saying nothing really, for moments after I took the picture we said goodbye to each other, intending to meet again, knowing the chances of that were minuscule.
I have returned your picture to a place of safekeeping where, some months or years from now, I will pull it out and remark that you look exactly as I remember you, but more importantly, perhaps, I will be keeping you alive, and in this fraught world, that is something to be appreciated, even if you haven’t the vaguest idea it is happening
Be well dear friend, and if not, be eternal for a bit longer, be you dead or much alive.
Of course, she’s sitting there, calmly, staring off onto space. She has to know something is amiss, no one has come to visit her in days, but she knows that whenever, if ever, whatever it is that is happening is finally over, that they will once again return, stare at her, wonder aloud and silently why she is smiling, and she will as always say nothing, for she was once told that it is better always to leave them wanting more.
Tomorrow Paris will count its newest dead, and the hospitals will pray the tide of bodies has been stemmed, or diminished and none of those in the battle will pause and consider DaVinci’s lady imprisoned forever in her sterile room, an eternal prisoner.
First published in Dreich, Issue 20, Autumn 2020 (Scotland)
Some people say religion is dead, or at least mortally wounded. In my generation, closer to death than puberty, there is some truth to that thought because God seems a whole lot less responsive these days, our peers beginning to fall like lemmings from the cliff. But the young clearly have found what has gotten so far away from us, and they have gone so far as to personalize God, something we never dared do for fear of hell for the wrath of our parents and loss of use of the car. Today, even in school and at the mall their faith is on display on their smart phone screens, secretly genuflecting each time they mention OMG.
I received the invitation today, but I won’t be attending. I’m not inclined to RSVP, for that will only drive home the fact that I couldn’t afford to attend. They have to know this, and if they don’t, well… That really is their problem. My mother said you should always RSVP, yes or no, but she’s been dead two years, never said she’d attend anything again. And anyway I still believe the rule doesn’t apply to any invitation addressed to Current Resident
Dreams are a place where the dead are free to walk about, where they speak in voices barely recalled, but which seem so familiar to the ear. They are willing to engage you in conversations left unfinished, you are always surprised at what they have to say, at how it is not at all what you expected or wished from them. You tolerate this in your dreams because you know that you will soon awaken, and the dead will retreat from the sun to await the dark night’s return.