by Joshua Mohr
A funeral is a fist. Funerals have tear ducts. Funerals are typically held in lungs, clammy and loud with mourners plucking clumsy ballads on heartstrings and razor wire. At funerals, grief is dusted on faces. Grief is contagious. It is edible and aerodynamic. Grief is worn like wet suits, tight to the body, squeezing your anatomy into a tangle of pall and regret. Funerals are shown on televisions and sound waves on steroids carry their lamentations to the bottom of the ocean. You can smell a funeral a mile away, pungent with feral, barnyard odors. At funerals, people sit on pins and needles. They sit on hands or wedge in pews. People sit on platitudes and furious, barbed prayers that sound like this: why why why? or a slow gurgling croon of no no no…
At funerals, people pick at existentialism and empathy like buzzards with low blood-sugars. A funeral has a body temperature lower than 32 degrees Fahrenheit so tears freeze to people’s faces.
Everyone is numb and drunk.
Everyone is alive and dead.
A funeral is a crock pot, slowly stewing our innards, turning our hard hearts from potato to pulp. A funeral is burned toast. It’s smeared in hallucinogenic marmalade. It is rough in your mouth, scraping the skin off the roof. The aftertaste is equal parts blood and ashes. Funerals make you cough. They bring out the worst in people, the best in people, the atrophied zombies in people. Sometimes funerals lure out the animal stowed away in your guts, and these animals have no choice but to bite the person sitting next to you—bite their head right off.
Slowly, we all decapitate one another.
These wounds never coagulate. The wounds hiss. They give off radio signals. They secrete vendettas, lactate rue. They have a mind of their own that burns supernova bright. Funerals wear sloppy sleeves of prison tattoos. Funerals are decorated like Christmas trees and prostitutes.
Funerals have guests and the decapitated grievers can’t look at one another. You can’t share a tragic glance without a face. This is one of the perks of being headless.
Funerals are savvy disasters.
Funerals are inbred thunderstorms.
They are parasites. They always want more. They can always eat more of us.
It’s a beauty pageant, though the contestants are already dead. At a funeral, you can see corpses wearing tiaras. There’s a swimsuit competition, and they dazzle every decapitated griever during the talent portion by belting out, “The sun will come out tomorrow!”
Afterward, we are left to limp back out into our lives, armed with a fragile realization that soon dissipates, leaves us just as dumb as we had been before: The fragile realization is that there’s no such thing as yesterday. All those follies and heartaches and orgasms are gone.
And there is no future, either. There’s only us, the platoon of decapitated grievers marching out into the world, hoping, tenderly hoping, that today turns out to be the best day of our lives.