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death and after

Those weeks alone in her flat were difficult.

It was cold and I got sick after the funeral.

I had sat on a plane for hours, straight and

by the time I wound the tortuous roads in-

land to up-stream Latium, I had been

on the road, for about 40 hours. It was good

to get clean at last and eat the rough Sabine food,

a hot winter soup and hard bread and beans and pork,

and good drink. I got dropped off and opened her door

for the first time in more than a year. There was

no-one there and I felt, what? I slept on her bed

curled in a ball. I was cold but I slept like the dead –

good, down for the first time in two days. I saw her

lying flat in the morning, flowers on her breast;

and later at the church and last, the beautiful

cemetery by the monastery of St Francis

at Fontecolombo: the Dove’s Fountain. The ceremony

of a digger filling the grave troubled me. A friend

put her arm round me, and later in the week she came

with her husband to see me, and I was so out of it,

nodding on the chair, laughing occasionally.

I remember. The family doctor had been… supportive.

It was cold and not quite winter. The end of November –

when pigs btw get slaughtered. She used to run, run

from the farm as a little girl and block her ears.

I understand this and try hard not to care.


I want to tell her now that she is not a cold

set of bones buried underground in her soiled

gown. It’s for the scientist to strip us down,

bare of, or to a bare root of, meaning. We dig

past the facts I think. But, they write the books

I will read some day, dying and senile, and declare

my atheism in support, a last stupid act

of defiance. Now, I want to tell her that she lives

for real and for good – not just in some metaphor

I thought up, which is really nothing at all. I recall


one morning how the wind cut through my clothes

on my way to see, vaguely, an office clerk in town.

I had to take care of some business, a lot more

than I care for. Friend, I felt so cold. Those weeks

in the flat are like a dream to me now. I disposed

of her clothes. You know how that feels, or imagine.

I kept her winter shawl and her dressing gown. Took them


11 October 2015

3 thoughts to “death and after”

  1. Like John’s comment. Ah, Marco, this piece so fills in many of the pieces you posted on the old site, it joins them altogether in mind. As Dean notes, it’s tight, and fluid, and somehow I’d like that narrative voice to roll onward and onward, and never stop. I remember a piece from the old site, something about the ‘bones’; I loved that wish to tell her she lives now ‘for real and for good’. It’s confessional and yet quiet, controlled; the narrator voice’s does not tremble.

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