Dead man

The dead man finds his way into our heartsby opening the door and walking in.

He pours himself a drink, something likeGerman cognac, from the mini-bar. He starts talking

aimlessly about hunting or some bats he sawon the way over, wheeling around each other

like x-rays around bones and soft tissue.The dead man can see x-rays now, he says,

a perk of his condition.It’s not so bad, he says, though

he stops short of saying it’s as good asbeing alive, an omission we can, ultimately,

forgive. There’s a short silence where nothingis said, we’re just looking at him as he looks

at the ceiling or through it. He looks goodfor being dead. We mention this to him

but he just looks embarrassed. He mentionseels he saw in the aquarium earlier, how they knot

while mating. For hours, it’s just a huge massof eel flesh, he says, undulating in the water.

We nod, waiting for what he’ll say next. He seemsuncomfortable carrying the conversation, but we

can’t think of anything either. Now it’s his turnto look at us, and ours to stare at the ceiling

or wherever. Finally, we mention the knots we tiedin Boy Scouts, especially the loop—a noose? he asks—

but we say no, the one with the rabbit in its holeand the tree it goes around. The dead man

knows that knot, he says, it’s a good knot. But whathe really likes is the rabbit, coming out of its hole

in the morning, eating some grass, and a fox creepingout of its hiding place and chasing the rabbit around

the tree, back into its hole, where it always ends up safe.