March 2024

Back to Issue 15


By Julian Zytnik

This is where we’ve got to:

talking with a headstone business 

like I do about a project at work –

setting out the background & context

busying through lists of tasks & subtasks

building in contingencies & risk margins

locking in times for action completion

hoping completion will mean

the job is rendered complete

& I am complete.


This business of death

with its concreted channels

to multiple choice granite options

taut font & paint menus 

and the merits of bevelled vs embossed

as we ready the product for launch:

a final rendering.

They even have a word service

for the time-poor, word-poor

& all other poor (such a rich array of poor) –

we can say loved mother/son/aunt

and for variety throw in much loved

or well loved – ideally no more.

None of us have any more.


This is where we’ve got to:

memorial ritual, procession of processes

field of light between priced & priceless

measured & measureless, life & lifeless

slowly narrowing into a grey tunnel

heading towards a kind

of end –

a thick cardboard lid

closing down like on a case

a file, a case file, soon cold.

Just the final steps now:

a 90-day invoice

a reminder, a second one

then a final notice:

an Account Rendered Statement –

long, crafted, much loved,

sprinkled with bold.