The End began at the edge of the sky, stars falling like infernal angels from east to west. At least that’s what my grandmother told me. One by one the stars would rain from the heavens, cascading points of light tumbling into the newborn darkness and dragging behind them trails of glimmering molten silence. I asked if it was a sunny day or cloudy or raining, but she doesn’t remember. That was the day the angels stopped whispering the secrets of the world and cast themselves down in fire, she said, their languages swallowed by the sky that was sunny or cloudy or raining. Many things were forgotten that day, words and music and light cast into the atmospheric maw of the world and swallowed past the dark deathly throat of heaven. The stars are silent now.


My grandmother told me that dying is a lie we tell ourselves to avoid that most terrifying secret, the simple unspeakable fear which sinews our arms to our bodies and our hands to each other’s, that sticky stenching glue that holds the shapes of our words and our worlds together: death is the veil of God, its face that absolute unknown which can be neither seen nor described but which hovers in the peripheries of our vision. We do not know what happens when we die, and my grandmother told me that this is her most important story of all. The crown of God, the ecliptic halo of silent space. We do not know, we cannot know, there is no knowing. Death is the undoing of knowledge; dying is forgetting.

One day her lungs will forget to breathe, she said; her heart will forget to squeeze. One day her skin will forget to stay warm, and her eyes will roll back in their sockets as her blood will forget to flow and will sink into the cool dark soil. Slowly, her brain will forget all the songs, all the smells, all the stories, all the names; they will be swallowed by the worms.