There’s No “Waiting Mortuary” For Relationships

If there’s one thing we
generally don’t have to worry
about anymore, it’s being
buried alive.

We have policies, procedures
in place to ensure this
doesn’t happen, that no one
opens his or her eyes
to ruched satin against the
nose, confined in darkness.

This wasn’t always the case.
Inventors, morticians, physicians
all obsessed over avoiding the
most horrible thing:
“premature burial,”
which sounds much nicer than it is.

Leave it to the Germans
to come up with the large, stately
solution known as the Totenhaus,
the waiting mortuary,
the pitstop between “merely dead”
and “sincerely dead.”

The “dead” got a spa day,
or several, laid out above ground on
nice beds,
surrounded by flowers, monitored
by attendants here and there.

On their fingers were rings on strings
attached to pulleys
attached to bells
in the event they awoke,
surrounded by the cloying
odor of lilies barely masking
the putrefaction — the only means
to establish certainty that, yes,
this person is dead and can
be interred with reasonable
assurance that he won’t be
interred alive.

So just how am I supposed to know this
is every bit as dead as those dead Germans
who laid there, falling apart, until burial was
clearly the only option?

When it stinks?

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