On Grief: Landfill

Phoebe Liebling

Mia Gleiberman

Mia Gleiberman

WHEN YOU DIE THEY BATHE YOU IN THE BIG BATH TUB NEXT TO YOUR ROOM YOU TOLD US ONCE IT WAS IMPORTANT TO CARVE OUT A LITTLE SPACE FOR YOURSELF A NOOK I THINK YOU SAID YOU TOLD US TO FILL IT WITH THINGS THAT ARE SOFT YOU TOLD US TO FILL IT WITH THINGS THAT YOU HAVE TO HOLD WITH BOTH HANDS WHEN YOU DIE THEY WRAP YOU IN A BIG GREEN BLANKET THEN YOUR LOVER GOES DOWNSTAIRS YOUR LOVER PEELS AN APPLE WITH THE BIG METAL APPLE PEELER HE CUTS IT INTO SLICES AND SITS AT THE BREAKFAST TABLE AND LOOKS OUTSIDE IT IS DARK OUTSIDE WHEN YOU DIE THERE ARE GLACIERS SOMEWHERE IF IT WERE LIGHT YOU WOULD SEE THEM WOULD SEE YOU IN YOUR BIG FUNNY HIKING BOOTS HOLDING A LONG STICK YOU FOUND REFUSED TO LEAVE BEHIND EVEN THOUGH IT MAKES YOU WALK WORSE YOU WALK FUNNY A LITTLE SLANTED A LITTLE EAGER A LITTLE LIKE YOU WANT TO RUN AHEAD BUT YOU’RE WAITING FOR US STRAGGLERS BEFORE YOU GO UPSTAIRS YOUR SISTER BATHES YOU SHE WASHES YOUR ARMS YOU ARE SO SKINNY YOU WOULD BE EMBARRASSED IF YOU COULD SEE YOUR BODY WHEN YOU DIE YOU LOOK A LITTLE SCARY YOU LOOK A LITTLE SUNK YOUR RIBS ARE POKING OUT AND YOU LOOK LIKE YOU HAVE A CAGE INSIDE YOU A CAGE SOMEONE LEFT HALFWAY OPEN JUST FOR A MINUTE A CAGE THE BIRD GOT OUT OF AN EMPTY CAGE LIKE WE MIGHT TAKE IT TO THE DUMP WHEN WE DO SPRING CLEANING AND THE BIG METAL THING AT THE LANDFILL WILL BREAK YOUR BONES YOUR LITTLE BONES SO FULL OF HOLES AND PAINTED GOLD AND SPLINTERING AND LIGHT

YOU AND SHE AND ME BALD-HEADED AND COPING AND DOING AS BEST WE CAN AND THESE DAYS MAKING A LOT OF DRAWINGS ON THE CARPET AND HIDING THEM UNDER THE RUG WHERE I MAKE A LIST A GUEST LIST FOR THE PARTY NEXT WEEKEND IT SAYS YOU ME AND SHE IS DANCING IN THE KITCHEN SINGING INTO A SPATULA BEATING A WHISK HER AUDIENCE LOVES IT COLLECTS HER EYELASHES AND HAIR THROWS THEM LIKE RICE OR TOMATOES OR WHATEVER AND IN THE CLOSET ARE THE COUSINS WAITING AS A BIG SURPRISE BACKBENDS TO FIT IN WITH THE BROOMS AND THE SHOES AND THE CONTACT SOLUTION AND OF COURSE SO QUIET AND SWEET ARE THE RIDICULOUS YOUNG RELATIVES SLIPPING ON THE TILE FLOOR MAKING JOKES AND WEARING SOCKS I WILL OPEN THE PANTRY DOOR AND LET THE COUSINS SPILL OUT BANG A DRUM WEAR A GREAT BIG PAN ON MY HEAD YOU CAN HIT IT WITH CHOPSTICKS OR POPSICLE STICKS OR BEAT IT WITH YOUR FISTS THIS PARTY WILL BE SO GOOD AND BEAUTIFUL THANK YOU FOR BUYING THE STREAMERS AND GETTING YOUR HANDS ALL DIRTY AND YOUR KNEES ALL SCRAPED WE LOVE YOU AND SHE SO HAPPY KITCHEN-DANCING WE BROUGHT CLOTH TO WRAP HER IN FOR IF SHE SLIPS IN THE CUT UP FRUIT PULPY ON THE COUNTER FOR IF SHE FALLS OFF AND LANDS IN THE FISHTANK BUT OH LOOK AT HER CONDUCTING A SYMPHONY WITH A BUTCHER KNIFE AND YOU PREGNANT IN YOUR BIG DRESS AND YOU EATING AN ORANGE RIND IN YOUR BIG DRESS THE ONE YOU GOT CAUGHT IN THE ESCALATOR THAT ONE TIME WHEN WE RODE IT TWO MILES BECAUSE I SO YOUNG AND WANTING WAS CRYING FOR THREE DAYS SO WE LIVED AT THE MALL UNTIL MY FACE DRIED KINDA STICKY KINDA STILL LOOK LIKE SALT ROCK KINDA STILL SMELL LIKE THOSE PRETZELS AND THE FOOD COURT AND THE WAY YOU WORE ME ON YOUR SHOULDERS AND HOW YOU WASHED ME IN THE SINK

YOUR SISTER IS A MIDWIFE YOUR LOVER IS A FATHER WHEN YOU DIE THEY RUB THEIR HANDS ALL OVER YOU THEY HOLD YOUR HEAD SO YOUR NECK DOESN’T BREAK THEY PAINT YOUR TOENAILS DIFFERENT BRIGHT COLORS WHEN YOUR LOVER FINISHES HIS APPLE HE DRAWS THE BODY OF A WHALE FROM THE INSIDE RIGHT DOWN YOUR STOMACH YOU TOLD US ONE TIME THAT YOU FELL INTO AN ORCA YOU TOOK A BOAT ACROSS THE SOUND TO SEE IT BEACHED WIDE OPEN AND ROTTING YOU CLIMBED ON TOP OF ITS BODY IN YOUR RUBBER BOOTS AND YOU SAID IT JUST CAVED IN YOU LIKED THE WARM LIKED THE BLUBBER YOU HATED THE SMELL WHEN YOU DIE YOU LOOK LIKE A GODHEAD THEY PRAY OVER YOUR BODY AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BATHTUB AND YOU SMELL A LITTLE LIKE GETTING HIGH FROM THINGS YOU FOUND IN THE PANTRY A LITTLE LIKE BEING NEW YOUR LOVER CLIMBS INTO THE BATHWATER WEARING ALL HIS CLOTHES AND YOUR SISTER TAKES OUT YOUR EARRINGS YOU LOOK LIKE YOU JUST GAVE BIRTH IN AN INFLATABLE POOL LIKE YOU MIGHT STAY HERE FOR HOURS KNEES OPEN AND WRINKLING AND THEN IT IS MORNING AND YOUR SISTER MAKES TOAST THERE ARE CRUMBS ALL OVER THE TILES BUTTER ALL OVER THE FLOOR AND THEY KNEEL SO LONG THEIR KNEECAPS START BLEEDING WHEN YOU DIE THEY WANT A BIG BREAKFAST LIKE PANCAKES AND SYRUP WANT TO PUT DOWN THE TABLECLOTH BRING OUT THE CANDLES FRY AN EGG ON YOUR BELLY BUTTON OPEN THE CUPBOARDS THEY WANT TO EAT OATMEAL STRAIGHT FROM YOUR SWOLLEN PAINTED HANDS TAKE THE LAUNDRY DOWN FROM THE CLOTHES LINE AND GET OUT THE SHOVELS WHEN YOU DIE THEY DIG A HOLE IN THE GARDEN WHERE THE COMPOST PILE GOES THROW YOU IN WITH AN APPLE CORE AND LAY THE NEW BABY DOWN IN THE DIRT

“On Grief” is an old series from Method Magazine being brought back by the Artifex. These creative pieces center upon students’ experiences in dealing with loss and grief both on and off campus. Submissions and ideas can be sent to Phoebe Liebling at pliebling@wesleyan.edu.