If We Dig Graves For Them There Will Be None Left For Us
What does a town do after bodies wash up on the beach?
And where will these graves be dug and who will dig them? Who will choose which bodies and who will say prayers? And what if they are not the right prayers? Who will make the headstones and what names will be written on them and in what language?
Who will pay for the labor and materials and what happens when the tide comes in with more? The graves will be in our backyards, in our front yards, in the playgrounds and gardens. Our town is so small. Now, the cemeteries are only filled with familiar bones.We should not have to carry a burden like this. And what about the beach?
Maybe they will float away?
Any new ones? Yes. But the smell is not so bad? It must be a boon for the birds and the fish and the insects and the bacteria. The cycle of life and all that. We can make this work.
Margaret Spilman was born in West Virginia, raised in Kansas, and currently lives in the Bay Area. She has tumbled her way through most of America’s cities and a couple small towns doing whatever came next to tell stories and pay rent. She has an MFA from San Francisco State University where she was Fiction Editor for Fourteen Hills: The SFSU Review. She was one of six writers chosen to receive the PEN Emerging Voices Fellowship in 2014 and her story “Muscle Memory” won the James Kirkwood Literary Prize. Recent publications can be found at Indicia, The Rattling Wall, and sParkle & bLink.