Growing up in a small town, we didn't notice the background figures of our lives, gray men, gnarled women, dropping from us silently like straightpins to a dressmaker's floor. The old did not die but simply vanished like discs of snow on our tongues. We knew nothing then of nothingness or pain or loss— our days filled with open fields, football,
turtles and cows.
One day we noticed Death has a musty breath, that some we loved died dreadfully, that dying sometimes takes time. Now, standing in a supermarket line or easing out of a parking lot, we realize we've become the hazy backgrounds of younger lives. How long has it been, we ask no one in particular, since we've seen a turtle or a cow?