Issue 5: Independent vs. Representative Voice
A Publication of the USF MFA in Writing Program

Afraid of Death

Salvatore Difalco

 
 
What part of my confession don't you understand? You wear a white dress for the occasion, and sport a blue silk fan. What were you expecting? The universal clown to your jollity? A handstand? People busy themselves around us, living out their lives, taking on complex tasks. Even cats and dogs perform their little chores. Someone has to keep the village up to snuff.   The cats for instance limit the rat population. You only whine about fatigue. How tired your muscles are, and your eyes. Take a good long sleep and your muscles will rebound, your eyes will clear. Look where we stand. A green-leafed tree casts an onyx shadow on the piazza tiles. I smell espresso and baking bread. Today is Sunday. Everyone strives to get out of the fire. The church bells ring. My temples pound. Yours too? I see it in the hammers of your eyes. I see it in the tendons of your mandible. Did you fall asleep just then? Snoring sotto voce. Caught you napping at the threshold of our communion. Come now. The angel hanging from a branch declares that love is in the air. Love is in the air. Above it all, the esquire aspires to fulfil his end of the contract, bending to her throat, stroking her fair hair, tickling her abdomen secretly. Hiding their eyes like spinsters at a porn shop, the public spurns the show. The shopkeepers shut their doors. The cats stream off to squalid alleys. Even birds descry the union. But no, relax, never will it happen. Never. Your plastic charms stop short of giving succor — even the plucking fan squanders time. Feel the air. Look at the sky. Fanning yourself in this climate smacks of vanity or masquerade. What is it then? Are you afraid of death? Are you really so afraid?   
 
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