“On Dia de Muertos, when the dead rose, Ambrosio’s music for his quiet love was played from above ground, to the barren branches & dancing death.”
Catrina was comfortable in her coffin. It was nicely padded & had a luxurious silk lining. Catrina was happy that her coffin was lined in silk because it stayed cool & comfortable.
Catrina was cozy in the small space. She had no belongings besides the ragged dress that covered her ribs & spine & femurs. She no longer had to worry which dress was in season, or the seasons that passed.
Catrina was happy, alone in the darkness of hollow time, resting, smooth bone lay against soft silk.
The skeleton of the woman enjoyed the quiet.
The ground became colder: The Day of The Dead was approaching. When she heard scratching & scraping going past her coffin, Catrina knew the dead were rising to enjoy the tasty tidbits of lust, love & life family or fond friends left on their headstone. For Catrina, remembrance was forgotten.
She did not want her departed life; Catrina wanted to be alone. She stayed in her coffin all night, & because she was deeply ensconced in silk & mahogany, was not bothered by the dead dancing by the light of the moon & blaring fire, above ground, in the cemetery.
There was a jovial knock-knock-knock on her coffin.
Catrina had to clear the cobwebs from her skull cavity & loosen her tight jaw before she could speak.The loud exhale blew dust and decay around the coffin in a whirlwind, “Hello?”
“Catrina, my dear, it is your love Ambrosio. Why do you not come out on Día de Muertos? Come with me & we will do the dance of death together & love in this eternal rest.”
“Ambrosio… From so long ago….” Catrina’s voice unsure as a nest of upset spiders.
“Catrina, speak to me. I want our love to continue. It doesn’t have to die.”
“It already has,” replied Catrina & settled to sleep for as long as her quiet mind liked.
Ambrosio’s strumming guitar’s melody danced off roots & reverberated off brass jointed mahogany. Its tone eventually seeped through the deep mud, through silk & into Catrina’s casket. The music was persistent in its polyphonic message of romance.
Ambrosio played from his casket for Catrina; the finger bones of his skeleton hands sharpened from picking his guitar’s strings. On Día de Muertos, when the dead rose, Ambrosio’s music for his quiet love was played from above ground, to the barren branches & dancing death.
Catrina heard the music, but it took time for her to listen: memories became dredged from her lazy bones. Ambrosio had played that song for her on a summer night. He had also played it at her funeral; he had returned & played & kept her grave with a blanket of sunshine marigolds… Then Catrina had fallen asleep. Ambrosio… Why had she allowed these memories to decay with her flesh; why had she not kept them to cloak her bare skeleton?
“I need no memories to accompany me; they take up too much space.” Catrina’s voice fell hollow against her empty chest & tight coffin.
Midnight opens passages & Dios de la Muerta opens the fabric. Holes created in reality allow skeletons to slide through & up. Ambrosio’s fresh air music reached through the disturbed soil to her, cut her to the bone.
“I will go to the surface & tell him he must keep it down. There is no room for memories in this casket.”
The dirt was cold & uncomfortable. It filled her body’s cavities with its lack of life in material, full of life in its components : Catrina tore through roots & loosened worms.
Her bony skeleton hand reached through the soil first, its fleshy remains black & sinuous in the moonlight. Her other bony hand was quick to follow; as she pulled herself up from the enclosed comfort of her grave, dust blew off of Catrina in a beautiful billow, while worms & bugs crawled in her earthy crevices.
Some of the dead still fleshly intact, some were rotted, fatty messes. The women’s gowns were eaten by bugs & held together by spider webs. The of late dead had disgraced hair, unruly fingernails & danced like crashing waves. That whom have been doing this dance for a chunk of eternity had well- oiled joints, their bones glowed white by the light of the full moon’s opulent reflection.
Ambrosio’s music was as present as the cool breeze and her gravestone was wreathed with sunshine marigolds.
Catrina’s bones were stiff as she walked over Ambrosio, through throngs of dancing dead. Moonlight & blazing fire shined though Catrina’s slight bone structure & cut shifting patterns through swaying skeletons.
Ambrosio did not stop his playing when Catrina approached, but joined her and walked alongside her in his own grating manner, “Every Día de Muertos I leave you marigolds so you never forget that I remember you. Catrina, if I didn’t remember you, you’d only be a sleepy pile of bones. Come! Dance the dance of death with me & we will be alive forever!”
Catrina’s skeleton hand reached for Ambrosio’s & they created a memory that would enshrine Catrina & keep her company in her coffin all year long.
Thank you for image permission: awe-inspiring sculptor/dollmaker Sheri DeBow!