If you are reading this, please forgive me. I am sorry that I could not outlive you and keep this from you. I am sorry that I have left you alone, and left this here for you to discover.

If the funeral arrangements have already begun, you may have met my aunt Teleute. She is not my aunt. Adjacent to her yard and mine there lay a wild field where mad dogs and junipers could often be found, in the hot months. The wind rippled from the evening train and scattered the pieces of our life like toys, the rain tasting of rust, that train haunting our houses like a ghost porter dropping baggage. My parents swore they never heard it.

My gifts for her I buried beneath the rotten track, bleached skulls, the bones of animals, death she wanted back. She would weave dreamcatchers to reclaim their trampled souls, their skeletons become like the foam that softens water’s edge. Claire, that field is still there.

It lounges like a dog but the train is dead. Spiderweb knots she will not weave from its leaden head. Its carcass lies unpicked and clean tangled in its coffin lane. Silent to you, only ghosts can hear its savage screaming. It has not become a good dream. It runs where the sun does not pierce and its headlight stabs the black shroud I will travel under. She will want to take my bones, weave me into the net to keep back its pounding. She will want to free my soul, Claire, but I don’t believe in it anymore. I don’t believe in it and you cannot believe in it either.

Do not wait for the crematorium. Build a pyre and burn me.

Burn me, because if it is true, she can see my soul and she can see its lies. And there are some things a man must take with him unknown to the sunless land. If it is true, there are worse things she can weave me into. If it is true, she will own my bones, Claire, when they rightfully belong to you.

If you are reading this, I am so sorry. I am sorry for the lies in this life. I am sorry for the kindling you will need, for the torch you will light, for the mad woman who will come to you begging for my body. I do love you, but I cannot describe to you the holy silence wrought in the wake of that dead train. To think I am back where its hoot can hunt me once more is worse than a Hell of demons. A nightmare eats fear and follows its child until it dies. And death, Claire, death makes it so much hungrier.

Burn me,


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