September 13, 2010

each thing i show you is a piece of my death

Somewhere, out beyond the too-often-unmapped intersection of known and forgotten, there’s a hole through which the dead crawl back up to this world: A crack, a crevasse, a deep, dark cave. It splits the earth’s crust like a canker, sore lips thrust wide to divulge some even sorer mouth beneath–tongueless, toothless, depthless.
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When it came time to carry her father’s soul down from the mountain, she had nothing to carry it in. The bowl her mother had carved from heirloom ivory, fitted together like a puzzle mosaic and watertight without needing glue, had been shattered that morning in an argument with her father’s retainer.
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L’esprit de L’escalier

The French title translation is "mind of the staircase" and refers to the phenomenon of coming up with a rejoinder after the fact. Author Peter M. Ball uses the phrase in a meta sense to describe all the things you miss after a loved one dies.
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