The Far Side of Heaven
From somewhere out there, the bones ring like wind-chimes against the prevailing storm. Looking out into the darkness, the eyes are the problem, unequipped for the absolute, ready to read any sparkle of iridescent light. Without see what the dead see, looking backward into us, we go on hoping for the worst. But we have mistaken the dead; they have no desires. They care less about what is left behind than we do, who have not left anything behind. Less than the loose hinge of a screen door, or the wind in the grass over the prairie. If the dead believe in anything, they believe in death as the in-between. We of the here and now are not part of this. The others are coming behind, they say, no matter, coming but always suspended, like virtual particles hanging on the edge of a black hole. The bones of the living are like the bones of the dead, only less brittle, more imaginary. On the High Alentejo, in Portugal, there is a chapel abandoned to the sheep and cattle. The sanctuary is filled with the droppings of beasts, and the windows are
broken out, as if the last were searching for perpetual daylight. And on the chapel’s side, above a small forgotten yard of stones, a tile in the style of the last great religious age, which reads, our bones are here, waiting for yours. Some say, in the end, there are no echoes, only the breath that you cannot exhale.