The Death Zone

Philip Gould

When I think of death I thinkof Peter Falk in The Princess Bride pattinghis pockets as he leaves the room

Life is a series of doors or sothey say but I ask them thiswhere does that last door lead?

For Falk maybe it leads backstagea black-walled catered affair with stagelights slowly baking stale muffins

Sweaty cheese leaking onto dried-outgrapes a chocolate fountain cloggedby some errant strawberry crown

but this is not where it leads for you orfor me that door opens onto darkness markedonly by a trellis or the lid of a casket

the door of the earth’s womb openingfinally to accept us and with us the dirtnot to grow more strawberries for Falk

but to pad his feet as he walks overheadto visit someone he certainly cares aboutbut whose name is lost to posterity.