“After Life”

The funeral procession slowly winds its way through the rain,
oblivious to the struggling man desperately trying to claw his way out
of the tightly-sealed coffin. We talk a little louder to muffle the
dull thuds of frantic fists, averting our eyes from the coffin and
drawing our coats about ourselves as we pray we won’t be the next
picked by the fickle hand of fate to sacrifice ourselves for a greater
good that seems more and more distant each day.

The eulogy is short, reminding us of death after life and life after
death. The grave-digger’s shovel works constantly through the service,
reforming the irregular cavity hard-won from a too-yielding surface,
shoring up the sides of the grave as they slope back in. The last
words are said, the last prayers murmured. The pastor puts away his
translucent book as the coffin is gently lowered past a decent
height—and then released, plummeting through the air in a cloudburst
of light and shattering upon a hospital below where at that instant a
baby wakes up, squalling, thrust unwillingly into the violent world.