Shall I tell you once more how it happens? Even though you know, don’t you? You were born with the horror stamped upon you like a fingerprint. All these years you have lived, you have known. I but remind your memory, confirm the fear that has always been prime. Yet the facts have a force of their insolent own.
She: “Is he dead then?” (Black blood fills the tubing) He: “I’m sorry.” She: “Oh, God.” (The intestines are pierced) He: “I should like to do an autopsy.” She: “I don’t want him cut up.” (We use the trocar on all) He: “We can plasticize the body.” She: “I don’t want him in plastic.” (The corpse gleams) He: “It’s only a word.” (Combed, shaved) She: “Jesus, words.” (He can make anything, except life, he says) He: “There is the problem of the mouth.” She: “Jesus.” He: “Trust me, I see.” She: “I prefer to be of use.” (Soldiers standing in a bath) He: “A grand gesture.” (It helps the flesh to sink) She: “Oh, cremation, dammit.” (A tin of cinders) He: “Man is splendid in his ashes.” She: “A smaller package to mail.” (The smallest bits of dust) He: “Cremation is tidy.” She: “I want nothing done.” (You do not die all at once) He: “You’re distraught.” (Nerves dance on) She: “Put him in the ground as he is.” (Clusters of cells yet shine) He: “Perspective, you need perspective.” (Gravity works upon your blood) She: “His blue eyes used to twinkle. A bright dust has been blown away.” (Your swollen belly bursts. You are meat. You are wine.) She: “I am alone again. All is done.” (You are alone yet again. All is eaten, all is done.) He: “You must make a decision.” She: “Why must I?” He: “You are the owner of the body.” She: “Oh, God.” He: “You are ashamed of death.” She: “That’s it, exactly.” He: “It’s a disgrace to be dead.” She: “Exactly.” He: “What is your choice?” She: “What would you choose, for yourself?” He: “That is not the point.”
In the end, in the very end, there’s just you*
“I want to be buried—unembalmed and unboxed—at the foot of a tree. Soon I melt and seep into the ground, to be drawn up by the roots. Straight to the top, strung in the crown, answering the air. There would be the singing of birds, the applause of wings.”