The story is illustrated with original art from Lisa Lee Herrick.
The Beginning of Salve Caput:
I woke from a deep refreshing sleep, my arms wrapped, probably too tightly, around Mark. I felt confused. Something had changed. Oh, my mother was dead. I was an orphan. “My mother is dead,” I announced, as if repetition would convince me.
My brother wanted me to drive him to the graveyard. Paul had not yet seen the plot I reserved for our parents. When I pulled up beside our parents’ cabin, Paul waited outside, hunched like an old man in a too-light ragged coat. As he walked to my car, he tripped. “I don’t care where they’re buried,” he said, slurring his words. “I’m over it. I’m not sentimental.” I don’t care. I’m over it. My brother’s most repeated expressions.
“We don’t have to go,” I said. “I can show you another time.” I told myself to show him love, because someday he might be that rasping dying person our mother had been at the end, and I was filled with regrets about pushing him away.
“Let’s get it over with,” Paul said. “The mortuary needs to know.”
Read the rest of Salve Caput in The Rumpus.
About The Rumpus: Founded in 2009, The Rumpus is one of the longest-running online literary and culture magazines. We strive to be a platform for risk-taking voices and writing that might not find a home elsewhere. We lift up new voices alongside those of more established writers readers may already know and love.