Uncle Joe died. Friends, Relatives, Strangers came to mourn. Hundreds.
I served as pallbearer with Father, Brother-in-Law, “Relatives” barely known (Strangers?). Metallic blue coffin. Like a shiny new car. Shame to bury such sleek merchandise. God-man Rep in vestments hoarsed his bland, generic eulogy: Joe this, Joe that, Joe fill-in-the-blanks.
Harped successes of Uncle Joe: Detective Novel, The Missing Pomegranate; twenty years “thought provoking” columnist for defunct radical weekly, En Garde. No mention of moments spent and lost. Nothing missing known.
“Uncle Joe was an independent man,” I delivered the family eulogy. “Different from you and me. He left impressions.”
“That was a good thing you said,” said Father. “He lived a long full life. So what if he didn’t have kids? He’ll be remembered. All these mourners. Who would have known? I thought he was a lonely man. Poor old Uncle Joe.”
Necropolis stones like dominoes stretched far as eyes could see. Names. Names. Lived lives. Ended ends.
Three categories of dead: forgotten, long-forgotten, so-forgotten-as-if-never-been.
All the dead, however long forgotten, shared details. Groggy mornings, work days, snacks; television, radio, whatever devices backgrounded living at such time that living was done: entertainment; worn, familiar streets; mis-steps into shit or gum; bloat-belly after-shock of greasy food.
Necropolis sex consequence. Taste sex smell sex, consequence. Sex. Sex. Consequence.
Coffin lowered down, down. Deeper down.
Head stone: “Here Joe Lies In Truth.”
Someone burying another, one day, will see Joe’s stone and imagine, or more likely, not note or conceive, the author of The Missing Pomegranate; Radical; Columnist; Gambler. Unofficial, unacknowledged mentor to The Missing Young, who will themselves be old or dead when new young living gaze upon Joe’s faded stone.