The wires inserted beneath the skin during the cinching and draining allow me to position the limbs of each body perpendicular to the ground. This accommodates the shadows that move across the outside wall of my room. The shadows are each cast from the trees at the brake of the garden. Before I purify the bodies, I sit for a time and watch. Later I will braid the hair from where it falls and cut each braid from the hank of its root. The garments I will burn after unpocketing any overlooked possessions. I will scalpel each face from its undercarriage and mark the feet of each body with my colors. I will carry or drag or swaddle each body into the garden for its final ungristling. These are my duties. These are my evening chores. But for now I allow myself this small and peaceful time. Here the breeze off the water is lively year round. The darkness allows the moon a weak but sufficient light. The shadows of unmoving hands and feet are made to interact with the moving shadows of the trees. This overlapping of stillness and motion lobs up images of climbing and swimming and dancing. Something drops from the trees and the shadows are made to lift. The trees are not enough. There are people I still love, whom I no longer recall.
David McLendon is an Edward F. Albee Foundation Fellow. He is the founder and editor of Unsaid. He divides his time between Ann Arbor and Brookyln. "Penumbra" is from a work in progress.