In her dead Grandmom’s cabin we found each other via the orange light from the gas furnace. Carvings of shoulder and neck, scoops of hip-sides and navel sections, we were joined in the center of the woods in the center of the king-sized bed. She watched the deep green leaves rustle through the frozen windows above the wine cabinet, and there were no sounds in the night, except for the steam whistling from the furnace and the pitter-patter of elbows and kneecaps on the fur bedspread. Somewhere in the woods, the wind howled, and the wine cabinet shook briefly by its four little toes. “No one’s used this bed since the funeral,” she said. We lit up a match and walked over to the wine cabinet, pulling out an old bottle covered in dust. She popped the cork and poured two glasses until they were half-full. “To Grandmom,” she said.
We laid there in the middle of the night, listening to the way the bedsheets crinkled in our stillness. “Do you think that death is this dark?” She asked. My eyes felt like they were matted down with a heavy layer of gauze tape. “No,” I replied, “once your brain turns off, it goes to white, not black.” She sat up to turn the furnace a bit higher. “Who says that?” She asked. I could feel myself drifting off to sleep, my thoughts slowly becoming full of mush, all of the cabin feeling like it’d sunk to the bottom of the sea. “Darkness is just the absence of something. Death is the opposite. We become the essence of all things,” I whispered, my last words before the orange light went out and I fell deep into a wine-mulled sleep.
more by DOMINICK NERO
photograph by Elizabeth Lies