Today I watched my neighbor’s body get taken out of his house while his family keened on the front porch. Across the street joggers and dog walkers went about their business, glancing and then politely looking away from the 10 police cars, ambulances, EMTs, firetrucks… and then the coroner’s van.

He was wheeled out under a red blanket. I think he was around 25. I could see the folds of cloth over his body, clinging to his arms. I thought to myself how it looked like a body was laying under there, and then coming to grips that it was a body. A body I once knew.

Not well. I’m not sure if it would even be appropriate to give condolences. I gave him fresh eggs sometimes. I called him when his escape-artist dogs were out. He told me about the water issues in his basement and how he thought we paid way too much for our fence. I’m not positive what happened to him, but was unexpected. The night before we heard what sounded like five gunshots but they were probably firecrackers.

Earlier this week I got the Death card as an influencing factor in one of my readings. I assume it was referring to my computer that died the same day. Still, it has me wondering. A lot of things have me wondering this week. A lot of thinking. A lot of evaluating. Being reminded of death is good for that. Memento mori keeps playing through my mind.

I can’t help but think this is going to be a very, very long winter.

October 13, 2021

By Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is a third-generation Ryukyuan-American, award-winning poet, author, and publisher with 20+ years in newspapers. Publisher of Space & Time magazine (est. 1966), two-time Bram Stoker Awards® Winner, and HWA Mentor of the Year, she shares Authortunities, a free weekly calendar of author opportunities at

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