I put on my headphones, turned on my music and hit shuffle. I eased into Nina Simone’s version of “I Shall Be Released.” I wondered about the state of Anya’s soul, and then thought about her body and where it might be buried.
Anya’s funeral had occurred and I hadn’t been there. Did she look pretty? Had they falsified her with one of those frigidly beautiful funeral makeovers? What color dress did they display her in? Were her hands folded neatly across her chest? Anya could never keep her hands still. They were the primary extensions of her whirlwind personality. Death had stilled the whirlwind.
I had been at my mother’s funeral. Or some part of me had been there. Another part of me had been absent. All I remember is that she seemed waxy and unreal. Like the plastic fruit people put in bowls. Ever since then, whenever I see plastic fruit in a bowl, I think of my mother, my mother’s neatly arranged corpse, and I feel a little queasy, a little sad.
When my grandmother died I didn’t attend her funeral. I was in L.A. and didn’t make the trip back. I didn’t see the point in attending. We hold secret funerals in our heart all the time. Between the living and the dead, the silent communion never ceased.
Originally from Brooklyn, NY, writer, poet, spoken word performer, and playwright, John Biscello now lives in Taos, New Mexico. He is the author of three novels: Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale, Raking the Dust, and Nocturne Variations, and a collection of stories, Freeze Tag.
His fiction and poetry has appeared in: Art Times, nthposition, The Wanderlust Review, Ophelia Street, Caper, Polyphony, Dilate, Militant Roger, Chokecherries, Farmhouse, BENT, The 555 Collective, Instigator, Brass Sopaipilla, The Iconoclast, Adobe Walls, Kansas City Voices, and the Tishman Review. His blog--Notes of an Urban Stray--can be read at johnbiscello.blogspot.com. Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale was named Underground Book Reviews 2014 Book of the Year.