I carry my grief in my armpit
just so I can keep it warm,
and though some times the smell
escapes, at least I’m not alone.
You won’t find me in sleeveless shirts
or shaving off my hair, for
as long as she lives in my lymph
I’d like to keep her there.
At the wake, Walter stands beside the barren case that used to hold the Bot and receive its mourners with a firm handshake. He is mobbed by hundreds of its friends whose names he can’t remember. They look at him with pity in their eyes like he is some pathetic puppy dog and they whisper things like I’m sorry for your loss and it was such a good Bot and the Bot would have loved this and if only it had realized how it important it was to so many people and you should be proud to have built a Bot like that and they flood the room with their sodium liquids shouting why, why, why would it do that, it had so much more to function for, and Walter nods and says yes I understand and they keep walking or they press their crying bodies into his, smearing makeup and moisture on his favorite black jacket and move on to the next awkward greeting.
His gazing at the succession of light poles was interrupted by a jolt in his arm.
“Punch-buggy green,” Nick said.
“Ow, what?” Tony rubbed his stinging tricep. “Are you serious? And that wasn’t even green, it was yellow.”
“No, it was green.”
“And it’s a new Bug. New Bugs don’t count.”
“Not that one, there was an older green one behind it.” Nick dismissed the confusion with a wave, which he must have known would really piss Tony off.
“Whatever, man. There wasn’t. No way.”
It took five minutes for Nick to drive around the block and show Tony the parked car. The closure led to them ending up arriving late to the wake.
No more dates engraved in stone — now when our bodies grow weak and die, we become t-shirts instead, emblazoned with an image of our smiling faces captured in our youthful prime and frozen in a moment how our friends like to remember. Our souls are screenprinted in vinyl on a 50/50 cotton blend and passed out to our loved ones so they can wear our memories on the outside and then take them off when it’s convenient. Most run in XtraLarge so our family and friends wear our souls to bed to comfort them while they dream; the rest run small and find their use as undershirts or painting rags. Others still wind up in a four-sided wooden box, buried beneath the catacombs of clothing in the bottom dresser drawer. Some lucky few end up on plastic lunchboxes with matching thermoses for soup, plastic frisbees, or kitchenware, and find utilitarian purpose in the afterlife until they are conveniently misplaced or warped in the fiery depths of the dishwasher. Our fabric memory is not as weather-resistant as granite, but at least it’s portable — itinerant, like our own weary lives. But if death is a fashion, then immortality is merchandise, and these days everybody wants to live forever.
Posted in poetry, prose, Uncategorized
Tagged clothing, death, fashion, immortality, in memory of, memorial, merchandise, monday, mourning, prosetry, t-shirts