Never Bury Me

by Claire Thomasina J

Love has to last forever doesn’t it?

It must move beyond this world into the next. I think about this when I look across at my husband, especially when he is asleep. When he is asleep I think he goes to infinity. A place where he exists, always. Here he is just flesh and blood, over there he stretches over stars and galaxies and has bits of the moon inside him.

I asked him the other day if he would like to be cremated or buried. He said cremated, to be thrown over the mountains in Malibu at the top of Flores canyon. He wants to be stirred with silver mountain ash, fly on the wings of a hawk. Settle in its feathers so that he can know a truth he does not know yet. Part of him wants to rest under the skinny birch trees that nestle in the rock. The ones with the white bark dangling, their limbs stripped bare to the sun. He says that if there is a god, he will feel him there. He doesn’t want to be buried, he is terrified of the insects making a home in his skin. Building homes with his flesh, cozying up to his bones. Paper winged insects flapping around where his heart used to be. I shudder at the thought of him without his heart, a heart that blooms like a night filled with Jasmine.

My husband comes from a Jewish family. He studied Hebrew as a small boy, tucked himself in the pocket of the Rabbi and traced the words in the great book with his fingers. He held the prayers in his mouth like soft pieces of bread. He went to temple and learned about the ancient ones, then took them inside and made himself a giant. I have seen the pictures of his bar mitzvah.

He has a hoop earring in his right ear and his black eyes go back to infinity, ripe with god and Moses, they go all the way back to the starry belt of the universe, to where it all began. He is wearing a grey shiny suit, and his grandmother is holding him tight. Her great bosoms are nestling his head. He loved his grandmother. She held him close when the great Northridge earthquake came and shook him free of religion. He saw the earth tremble and the family photographs fall from the wall. He watched his grandmother die shortly after that from cancer, saw her lungs fall apart as if butterflies were eating them from the inside out. He stopped going to temple after that. He decided to study the gods of Einstein and Newton instead.

  Never bury me he says, send me into the wind so I may know the infinite. Don’t lay me in the ground with the dead, he says, you can’t live in darkness forever.

Philip Brautigam
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