Spring 2005 • Vol. XXVII No. 2 FictionApril 1, 2005 |

Death Explains Himself

To begin with, a few mistaken impressions: I have never been warmed over. I take no holidays. I be not proud. I have never visited Venice. Oh yes. And this one: That just before you get to me, you are enveloped in a warm, embracing light. Sorry. Before you get to me, nothing happens at all. There's no signal, no sweet transitional moment in which you are shepherded from the world of the living. You're alive. Then you're dead. As your bounty hunters put it: dead or alive. Think of me like a score in a baseball game. There are no ties. But no rain-outs, either. Which is why I thought it might be useful for you to have a clear-eyed view of me, for a change. You depict me as the grim reaper. Grim? Me? I am neither grim nor amiable. Sad to report, I don't have much of a personality at all. And I haven't tried. And I don't keep a calendar or a schedule, either. You think: When your time is up, it's up. Not a bit. Want to live longer? Take a pill. I don't care. One more thi

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Roger Rosenblatt
Roger Rosenblatt's most recent book is the novel, Thomas Murphy. He is the recipient of the 2015 Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement.

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