Cre[m]ate [Short Fiction]

Ashes, Ashes,

All in Urns in a Niche

Supplied by the United States Government


I recall praying for my mother as she lay dying–or was it that she was lying dead, only kept going by a machine–what was it that was going on in her there under resuscitation, red, green and yellow lights blinking, flashing, beeps beeping incessantly; a pigeon that landed on her window sill three days before she was declared brain dead, what the hospital had wanted me to agree to weeks before. I recall also having prayed for my father the day I brought his ashes to the cemetery. I also brought my mother’s ashes to the niche my father was in, and now no longer alone.

I placed them face to face, that is, label to label. That will suffice for face to face on urns. My father obviously died before my mother, but do you know that he died nine months to the day she died. Pigeons, months, death, dying, machines–I held my mother’s hand until her heart stopped. I had asked the staff at my father’s hospital to try to resuscitate him–I do not think they tried very hard. It was probably an exercise in futility–I almost know that it was. I was not ready–I was not capable of saying let him go. I really did not know how to do that for my mother.

No one keeps anyone from his family hooked up to machines for anyone else but himself. I guess I was self-indulgent. I am not going to say Who wouldn’t be? That’s not the point. I do not know what the point is. Trying is what it is–to try itself is often too trying for many to accomplish, which is why so little gets done? Is it true that little gets done–perhaps in our expectations, which are in themselves mostly conceived, constructed, articulated after the facts. What then must I say? I did what I did ax I did it in both hospitals with them dying or dead, and I have no real intention of explaining why, the reasons of course, why, why, why are so useless to frame or phrase.



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