Temer, I meant to tell you

dead bodies aren’t that bad, open eyes gazing at the sun or ceiling fan or some loved one. They aren’t that bad when the firemen pound on their chests, stomachs bulging deflating bulging with each attempt to make them alive. They aren’t that bad when they are warm like the microwaved milk your mother prepared for you when you were a kid; when they are cold like your fingers, exposed, to the frigid air of Michigan winter; when they are rigid like the deer and raccoons on the side of the highway. Human

roadkill. Dead bodies aren’t that bad, the wives screaming until vocal cords snap and you can never tolerate such a noise again. They aren’t that bad when the husbands bury their faces in the shoulders of another, mask the tears, mask the fears, but don’t forget the years. They aren’t that bad when the kids, tripping over one another, eyes rimmed red, shout to the neighbor across the street, “Can we please stay with you?” and you watch the young take the younger in their little arms, and run, bare feet slapping

concrete. Dead bodies aren’t that bad when their hearts stand a chance, shock advised, shock advised, charging. They aren’t that bad when they don’t stand a chance, asystole, the Flat Line, a family crying. They aren’t that bad covered in tattoos of crimson blood. They aren’t that bad with mottled skin, purple pooling sludge. They aren’t that bad when the medical examiner arrives, camera slung around his neck. And they aren’t that bad being laid inside black or blue body

bags. Dead bodies aren’t that bad on the side of the road, twisted wrists and broken necks. They aren’t that bad in the living room, the bedroom, the kitchen, or the shed. They aren’t that bad when the paramedic calls time of death, 1200, 0810, 1725. They aren’t that bad during the day, sun glinting in their eyes. And they aren’t that bad at night, erasing the sleep

from ours. Dead bodies aren’t that bad,

Temer,

unless they are your kindred lying in a hospital bed.

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