Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
Last night, I dreamed I was in my father's house.
He was being uncharacteristically cheerful.
I could see that he'd gotten rid of a lot of furniture and he was in the process of packing things away.
And there, crouched quietly in the corner, was this hipster kid in a pulled-over black hoodie, black skinny jeans, and black Chucks.
I asked my father, "What's going on?"
He said, "Oh, you know, things will happen."
"Why are you packing up?" I asked.
"Oh, to make the house easier afterward."
I realized that he was sick, but he wouldn't tell me what ailed him.
And I realized that the hipster kid was death.
So I started chasing the hipster kid around with my father's ash cane, trying to get him out of the house, but he wouldn't go.
I pushed him out the front door and locked it behind him. And of course when I went back into my father's study, the kid was there crouched in the corner.
I pushed his hoodie back, and he had no face or head, just a black Nothing you couldn't look at.
So finally I let him be and watched my father wrap mementos in butcher paper.
Eleven years ago, when my mom saw death crawling out of a brass lamp (thanks to her Charles Bonnet syndrome) she saw him as a tiny knight in very black, very shiny armor, like a brave little chessman come to life.
My dad gets a skinny-ass poser, but I guess that's fitting.
The Carriage held but just Ourselves
I'm a soft agnostic.
I don't try to convince anyone to be agnostic, and I really hope for some kind of afterlife, but I have zero faith in it.
Thinking about the possibility that there's nothing after we die makes me pretty depressed.
It makes me question the worth of my life and my place in the world. It makes me question my struggle.
But you know what it doesn't do?
It doesn't make me want to rob anyone or hurt anyone or steal anything for my own pleasure or convenience.
People who need the threat of eternal damnation to do the right thing are beyond me.
We slowly drove – He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility.
Italicized stanzas from Emily Dickinson's "Because I Could Not Stop For Death".