Saturday, October 02, 2010

Los Sepultureros

He called her his little cunt and said that if she didn’t stop bellyaching and learn how to act like a grownup she’d end up a spinster with a houseful of cats. He use to see her with her da shopping for hand-me-downs at the Saint Vincent De Paul, her da yanking her by her pale freckled arm, Snježana wishing they could go to the Eaton’s where they had brand new dresses not ones that smelled like other people’s dirty houses. Never once did she feel soft cotton against her skin or lace-up a pair of new shoes. He said new things were a waste of money and that if that’s what she wanted she could go live with the nuns or sell herself to men with troubled pasts and uneven tempers. She wished her name was Lorelei and that when she went to the bathroom her da didn’t peek at her through a hole in the wall. She wished she had four arms so she could push her da off her when the pale freckled ones were pinned behind her back. They carried her father to the cemetery in a wheeled bier. The gravediggers, their jaws working like gristmills, spat tobacco juice onto the raised area around the grave; fader Sieraków, humming a Gaelic funereal dirge, knelt in front of the wooden catafalque, his Chastibule collected round his waist, the hem of his Alb steeped in a gobbet of spit. The ceremony for The Absolution of the Dead was conducted by fader Tunuyán, a tonsured Franciscan with a brash tone and uneven teeth.

"Los sepultureros, sus mandíbulas de trabajo, como molinos, jugo de tabaco escupió en la zona elevada alrededor de la tumba; Sieraków fader, tarareando un canto fúnebre gaélico, se arrodilló delante del catafalco de madera, su Chastibule recogido alrededor de su cintura, el dobladillo de su Alb empapado en un trocito de saliva."

Once the funereal Mass had been said, and the mourner who had thrown herself on top of the coffin had been pulled free, fader Sieraków wiped his brow, and turning to leave stopped in front of the sepultureros, who were impatiently shuffling back and forth waiting for the mourners to leave, and said ‘may God forgive you your sins’, then pausing, his uneven teeth spitting out the words, whispered ‘lousy cunts’. György and Löwinger, for that were their names, both beneficiaries of lowbrow intellect and less that honorable temperament, stared popeyed at fader Sieraków, neither man knowing how to respond.

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"Poetry is the short-circuiting of meaning between words, the impetuous regeneration of primordial myth". Bruno Schulz

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