The Photo On The Upright.

On the pitch-black upright piano is a photo of my mother. It is a portrait. It was taken in the 1950s. It is in black and white. She is in a houndstooth jacket and a blouse. Her hairdo is characteristic for the era. My mother looks very pretty in the picture. There’s a beautiful light in her face and in her hair, coming in from the right. I’d very much like to include a copy of the photo in this post. My mother looks like a 1950s movie star. But you know I can’t publish a copy of the photo. The photographer was an established artist at the time. His work grew to even greater fame in later years. He’s now celebrated as one of the nation’s greatest photographers. The photo must have been composed and shot when he was still an accessible person for less than famous people, such as my mother. My mother died two years ago. She was 89. I was in New York when it happened. I flew out the next day. My mother was buried, not cremated. I can’t stop thinking of what putting a dead person in the ground does to that person’s organic remains. Not a week has passed since my mother’s decease when I have not asked myself what the corpse would be looking like, what the rotting of it has turned the body into. My husband died ten years ago. He was cremated. I don’t have a magnificently staged picture of him like the one of my mother’s. I have nothing of him that I could exhibit on the upright. But neither am I visited by a recurring image of the putrifying remains of my husband. I prefer cremation. Not for myself though. It’s not relevant for me. Death doesn’t happen to one. It only happens to others.

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