Without Shadow of Flowers

The sun is 4pm, slowly setting, finishing Sunday. I am 75mph on the freeway, maybe more. Others are flying at 80mph and up. I feel like catching up to them, but hover my speed below the 80s, like it's cooler to be there, the way some people hate leaving the 70s or the Age of Disco. Lenny Kravitz spits cool through my speakers, makes them high. I play one of his tunes, a few times, because of its beat, and the way it gives the afternoon some rhythm. Forest Lawn Drive is my next exit, after making a last minute decision to visit two loved ones, buried beside each other. I am now rock-and-rolling towards a field of death-beds. Beside the road are flower vendors who cause attentions of rushing drivers to crash into them.

I decide to leave out flowers on this visit. There are already flowers beside the tombstones; they look fresh, from someone's recent visit. I assume that recent visitor has cleaned the stones carefully, because dirt and soil are not stuck around the letters and numbers on the stones. Goaded by vague superstition, I make some numerical calculations on the number of letters and numbers on the stones, to come up with numerical similarities, to force out mysteries from the results. Some cemetery visitors around or near me must have thought I was deep in prayer, because of my posture, and the suggestion of concentration it conveyed.

Cold breezes remind me what I needed to do that night. I do not stay long there. I should've said a prayer. But I do not know what I would've said. I think it is better to visit the dead when one is at home, drinking coffee, staring at the sky outside, at a wall, while on a traffic jam, browsing through photo albums, or in one's writing, in an essay, story, or poem. Visiting someone's grave is depressing, is affirming not only the dead-ness of dead bodies one used to know but their souls as well, like they're not part of you now, and, therefore, must warrant a 'physical' visit to pull them back to your memory. Whenever I see those stones, I see memories named in stone. I go back there, over and over again, as though trying to reclaim alignments, inevitable displacements.

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