Death by Perla Limon

Only when the master organ can no longer pump blood through veins and
muscle, and heart beats cease to sound, when mortal ichor—crimson and
fresh, unclotted and sticky—runs over floors and bullets fire through:
heads, eyes, shoulders, chests, hearts, abdomens, forearms, thighs,
calves, feet, loved ones, strangers, children, elders, when wrinkles
mark deeper and deeper lines in faces and cheeks, telling of dozens of
years of smiles and frowns alike, when the concierto fades into stark
silence and the audience’s hands tire of clapping, when the muscles
stiffen and goosebumps fade into cold terror, when riots cease in the
streets and the exhilarated piano player leaves the music stool still
warmed by his body heat and the black and white keys, slicked with
sweat and oil from the previous player’s fingertips, grow cold—the
music hall empty and seats left without company—when tarnished
memories regain their former splendor and smiles return to the faces
of those who once shed invisible yet resilient tears, whose traces
remained throughout years of endured mourning, when black clothes are
once more filled with color and joy, when the gathered crowds
dissipate and shouts of despair quiet, only when life truly
resumes—the play button melted into its shallow grave in the remote,
and the pause button taped over, forbidden and ignored—moments in the
evening air filled with laughter and bright hues, with giggling
children and ventures to the neighborhood park, with forgotten visits
to gravestones marked only with the words “a loving spouse, forever
dedicated to the contentment of family and the satiation of his own
hunger,” when family reunions are no longer overcome with somber
silences, when the dogs in the backyard begin to play a game of tag
with the visitors, when verbal “tug-of-wars” in the form of arguments
crescendo in the dining room and the sounds of beer bottles opening
echo in the small pool room—walls lined with the masks of retired
luchadores and mini figurines of classic cars displayed on
well-maintained wooden shelves—only when the names of the fallen are
no longer met with sadness, but smiles and soft chuckles, when the
long-since empty room, once filled with collectors items and
characteristic items that defined the departed, has been cleared and
redecorated until guests can no longer recall the deceased that once
slept there, when grandchildren pass by the measuring lines on the
doorway, once used to check the height of their mother in her
adolescent years, and do not even notice the fading pencil lines, only
then may souls be put to rest.