A HIGH BUILDING IN SINGAPORE
It's a high building in Singapore that holds the only beauty for this San Francisco day where I am walking down the street, feeling terrible and watching my mind function with the efficiency of a liquid pencil.
A young mother passes by talking to her little girl who is really too small to be able to talk, but she's talking anyway and very excitedly to her mother about something. I can't quite make out what she is saying because she's so little.
I mean, this is a tiny kid.
Then her mother answers her to explode my day with a goofy illumination. 'It was a high building in Singapore,' she says to the little girl who enthusiastically replies like a bright sound-colored penny, "Yes, it was a high building in Singapore!"
As you can see, I am an expert on death in California. My credentials stand up to the closest inspection. I am qualified to continue with another story told to me by my friend who also works as a gardener for a very wealthy old woman in Marin County. She had a nineteen-year-old dog that she loved deeply and the dog responded to this love by dying very slowly from senility.
Every day my friend went to work the dog would be a little more dead. It was long past the proper time for the dog to die, but the dog had been dying for so long that it had lost the way to death.
This happens to a lot of old people in this country. They get so old and live with death so long that they lose the way when it comes time to actually die.
--from "winter rug"