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Theory of a Good Death

In the bluish climate of a stony city, they are burying me. I watch and say:

“Leave her alone. Can’t you see she’s alive? Don’t you see her face twitching?”

“It’s true,” someone says. “It’s not time for her to die yet. She hasn’t practiced enough. Love’s exactions have not been written on her soul; there are still a few partitions between her and her life. Something must advance to its center like a question. Must dare petition and surrender. Must thrust a signpost into her sand image, to see what the mouth makes of silence. She has to live.”

So they let me live. The stranger is still speaking but I can’t understand him. He says something about the Good Death: a secret, an indispensable error, loving face-to-face, something like that. Afterwards he evaporates into a stronghold of shadow and I, half-troubled, half-content, board a train and abandon the last city on earth.


1994, Maria Negroni. Translation 1997, Anne Twitty.

ARCHIPELAGO Vol. 1, No. 1, Spring 1997

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