Excerpt from No Man’s Brooklyn:
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.