It lay there, spiritless. What was this thing? This deflated thing with its slack mousehole mouth. This burrow. Whose hands were these, these hands with their rings too big, loose and lazy, the signet dull? Who had made the sheets so smooth and white and neat? Would the earth sag around its grave? Would there be cavities, crevices, for dirt to tumble down after the ceremony, gentle earth’s dander?
The doctor pleaded autopsy. Doctors never perform this on their own. It’s not done. It’s a medical euphemism, disguising saws and hammers that chase nothing now the mice have gone. It’s a Mercedes answer to the Volkswagen whisper.
What could be said? The whole language rallied to a stricken family’s defense, in the loam of words that were pressing down on them, some clipboard looming like the weighted lid of a coffin: No.
A.E. Weisgerber is a 2018 Chesapeake Bay Writer, 2017 Frost Place Scholar, and 2014 Kent State Reynolds Fellow. Work in Heavy Feather Review, The Alaska Star, SmokeLong Quarterly, FLAPPERHOUSE, great weather for MEDIA, Matchbook Lit, DIAGRAM, and Zoetrope Cafe’s Story Machine. Her work has been nominated for Pushcarts, Best of the Nets, Wigleaf Top 50s, and Best Small Fictions. Follow @aeweisgerber or visit anneweisgerber.com.