The Dead are Silent

An Essay By Julie // 6/9/2011

Inspired by a video at the FiveSixteen Film Festival

The dead are silent. The air has been crushed from their lungs by piles of dark earth. The lips that once spoke so carelessness, so intently, are closed forever. When one calls to them, shouts to them, weeps for them, there is no answer.
The dead are distant. Though the body rests immobile, the spirit cannot be found. One loses a mother as one loses a key—by not knowing where to look. There is nowhere on the map where one may go and say “Here you are; I thought I lost you.”
The dead are intangible. A passing figure in a grief-clouded dream, a face in an old photograph, a name spoken in whispers. The imaginary friend of the bereaved
The dead are close. They stand just offstage, where they can only be glimpsed out of the corner of one’s eye. They creep down the stairs in the middle of the night, leave the fridge open after a bout of midnight snacking.
The dead are everywhere. Sitting in the old chair, walking down the street, standing by their own tombstones. No matter how far one goes, the dead ride along and wait at the destination. They are with God, and, like him, are everywhere.
The dead are loud. Their mysterious smiles are so full of meaning that one cannot stand the noise. They whisper old jokes or echo old conversations so loudly that one cannot hear people standing there.
The dead are unknowable.

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