For the Afterlife

She wanted a crypt like the temple of Dendur, an enormous monolith unshakeable as their marriage. He favored the granite sarcophagus gaily decorated with Victorian swirls and oak leaf cornices. She wanted poplars tall and straight—leafy and shameless as Italian trees of summer, if sadly deciduous. He preferred cypresses, their constancy through the seasons: shrubs—yew or arbovite—modest, low to the ground. She fancied a stone table with seats for friends to come dine al fresco. He said a few high-back benches would do. She said as long as they’re comfortable, without Hallmark card prayers or one-size-fits-all labels like “Father” and “Mother.” When they settled on the white granite love seat carved from a single block, its elegantly supportive back to the forest, they were told it was impossible to order now that the factories making them in China and India were closed. Everything in the world was closed. Yet they

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