Toss aside those reading glasses. Measure the distance you’ve moved from clear print and that much closer to the grave. Senses muffled by age. Been said and sung how, “it all fades.” But that’s only half the story, for there is an abiding sweetness though that’s a lollipop word hardly up to the task: it’s as if the heart, born mummy-like within the body’s tomb, sheds its wrappings layer by layer even as the eyes dim and the teeth wobble—layers unraveling until the heart rises unfettered, a ghoulish joy, arms outstretched to embrace everything it sees. Happy Birthday, Death!

©Mel Green 2011

The Portuguese Bend region is the largest area of natural vegetation remaining on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, in Los Angeles County, California. Though once slated for development the area is geologically unstable and is unsuitable for building. It has been described as a constant, slow-moving landslide.

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