Zest Lit Issue 2, October 2013 - Page 137

and shortcomings – all rules and pretenses of acceptability and pride that define a man. Gone was the blackmailing shadow of death.

And there are reasons why such ways and feelings remain irreconcilable, reasons why frightened mortal flesh drives itself to comply, to fight, to be aloof, never make mistakes, to never need too much, never look too closely, and never understand the trends that crystallize, turn men against men and away from each other. Drive men in weakness not in strength. Drive men to altars of faith and thought.

But the stone lid was lifted, a long look taken therein; he witnessed what few have ever seen, heard what no one ever hears: that death is life, ending is beginning. He had entered the house of the dead and lingered at the final edge.

Yes . . . he had felt the universe’s indifference; he had seen the immensity of emptiness, the hypnotic incantations of endless solitude, and the rim of the flowering void from which no man returns unchanged.