hanging around

On the third or fourth day of our honeymoon in Sicily
we took a bus out to the Catacombe dei Cappuccini
a place where a bunch of mummified cadavers
– priests, princes, painters, whatever –
had been hung on the walls in their various vestments
in an early kind of tourist investment

A yawning attendant took our euros
We shuffled past the curios

I’d been quite nervous about the trip
what if I saw all the bodies and flipped?
unable to cope with the presentation
of DEATH in all its manifestations
but it’s funny how quickly DEATH loses its sting
when DEATH is literally everything
the rows of children in dusty smocks
a gaping priest in an open box
huddles of monks with their hats on a slant
a shrunken admiral; a desiccated aunt
men in suits, women in shawls
lines of musicians hung on the walls
playing their drab and wormy violins
with empty sockets and vacant grinsIMG_0923

and really, y’know – we could do without it
we quickly got quite blase about it
Death the Destroyer; The Great Unknown
It all comes down to a souvenir of bones
‘What will survive of us is Love’
(and a green frock dress and a calfskin glove)
so we hurried past the painter, the corpse with the hunch
and thought about an early lunch
hurried out of the Catacombe dei Cappuccini
and crossed the road for some fettuccine