In the Catacombs of Grief

In the catacombs of grief, she wandered. She wandered, without thirst, without hunger. This frightened her. Had she lost her basic humanity? Why had she created such elaborate labyrinths? Say that ten times fast, she said to herself. At least her sense of humor was intact. She had had a need for labyrinths, and for wandering in them without regard for time, since she was a child. And since she didn’t want to get lost in someone else’s labyrinth … If I get lost in any labyrinth, I want it to be one of my own making. She had gotten good at it: the labyrinth-making. Yet, down here, in the catacombs of grief, which she thinks is below the labyrinth—but could she be sure? Maybe the catacombs were flanking the labyrinth (which would make them irregular catacombs, but still…when it came to her…), maybe they are outside the labyrinth entirely. Orientation in the labyrinth was damn near impossible. She possessed an inner compass. That registered sense of direction through mood and feeling. Sort of like knowing where you are based on the temperature you’re experiencing. Here, the catacombs of grief, where it is cold. No wind. Just pure cold, like being in a deep freezer. There was also the wailing. Who or what produced the wailing, she had no idea. But it made her heart weep. She cried and cried within, and it was in there, the within that is within, where she saw and then became the woman using words, voiced, written, stitched together to form a life raft, upon which she cascaded along the River Grief which had been produced by the woman weeping her secret heartbreak—the tall woman crying secret tears for the wailing whatevers—the small woman riding the raft on the turbulent River Grief—and how they were both her, being watched over by the other woman who may not even be a woman, a mysterious genderless figure, an enigma destined to witness, take notes. The whole thing, at times, was completely overwhelming. Could she crack? Would she crack? She thought of Humpty Dumpty, that poor existential sap. He fell, cracked, and couldn’t be mended. The lesson there: not all get mended. Humpty became so much yesterday so quickly. And God, with his Hoover vac, sucked up the shattered remnants of Humpty and that was that. Poor Humpty. In the distance … there was distance. That got her down. To look out into the distance and see only distance … there’s only so much that a heart can take.

About John Biscello

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, writer, poet, performer, and playwright, John Biscello, has lived in the high-desert grunge-wonderland of Taos, New Mexico since 2001. He is the author of four novels, Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale, Raking the Dust, Nocturne Variations, and No Man’s Brooklyn; a collection of stories, Freeze Tag, two poetry collections, Arclight and Moonglow on Mercy Street; and a fable, The Jackdaw and the Doll, illustrated by Izumi Yokoyama. He also adapted classic fables, which were paired with the vintage illustrations of artist, Paul Bransom, for the collection: Once Upon a Time, Classic Fables Reimagined. His produced, full-length plays include: LOBSTERS ON ICE, ADAGIO FOR STRAYS, THE BEST MEDICINE, ZEITGEIST, U.S.A., and WEREWOLVES DON’T WALTZ.
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