There’s a haunting in the graveyard, where bats flock to higher ground when the dam flows over and coffins float to the surface. I can smell the rot on my tongue and see the decaying rose petals adrift in this land spill of toxic waste and wonderlands. I take a coffin, kick out the corpse, and row with a femur to your mausoleum as I navigate delta waters to the hell mouth. Your edifice, Crypt Keeper, is tainted with ivy and is the only thing left above surface in this lake of the dead, a stone angel spreading her acid rain-washed wings to the glory of some decrepit heaven. There is a black mist fine and pungent, fresh from the kill and bloated with pussy gases. The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out. The ones that crawl out are fat and stout, and they are feasting on the engorged limbs that have detached from their bodies, and there is a rat king, triple tails entwined, nibbling the corpse of some lawyer dressed up in his Sunday best, only it’s his Sunday worst, because he is filthy with the diseases of waste and ruin, slandered by Father Time, and honey, death is hell on the body. Your loved ones will lose their teeth, grow out their hair, yellow their nails, mummify or dissolve, but when the waters come to take us home, we all end up in the sea. That’s the truth of these matters – we are mostly water, and to liquid and stardust we return. So I’m rowing my coffin through the remnants of your Grim Reaper’s harvest, all to find you, sweet cadaver. Death smells like old garbage and sulfur and roadkill. But sometimes, he smells like roses. The crypt is tall and Roman styled, with the gloriana angel dolorosa, tears in grime on her eyes, and I tie my coffin to the angel with a bit of floating cloth, and scale the mausoleum. Inside is an ossuary – the bone zone. Huh, punny, that. Inside you lay resplendent amidst bejeweled saint skeletons and artifacts of another time – holy relics, a pinky from St. Catherine, a liver from St. Pancras, oh, don’t forget that lock of hair from St. Teresa, my favorite.
Bones are sharp, they can cut, but words are just as much like razors, and I’m praying for a beastly tongue, an empty gun. Death looks like someone you love, don’t you know? He can mask himself in darkness and equally in light, in the wolves and crows and snakes, but now he is redeemer, savior, my unholy temple. I climb inside his coffin and we entwine, and the black stretches out like a womb, and the silence of the deep is all-knowing. Death, omniscient. Death, omnipotent. Death, omnipresent.
There is not much difference between Death and God, and many of us worship false idols, but the truth is, is that endings are painful, and the dearly departed haunt us. But what to be haunted by Death himself? Thorns and broken glass to puncture your fingers and feet, stanzas of poetry and prose that are like caged madrigal nightingales in your brain, and you crack your head open on a cliff to see the blood diamonds he planted inside you.
I am one with Death, we are Death and the Maiden, and as he raises his scythe, I know my tithe is the dearest thing to me: the lie of separation.
That I am anything more than Death.
For to write is to make love to the self, after all, and morbid curiosities become terminal in time.
So I kiss myself, and kill myself, and my corpse joins a million other lost girls.
Lost girls that dreamed they were part of some great narrative, when really, this is the world of ghosts, and it is only in dreams we are alive.