At Zentralfriedhof

Tram 71; end of the line; Zentralfriedhof Cemetery.

Down the central path from the main gate, Brahms has a sleek, marble— white, shining white— vertical slab, his carven portrait atop an as white pillar.  The horizontal slab above his  remains remains green with moss.  On the pillar in bright gold, his last name, only, and 1833-1897.

Joseph Hoffman has a cubical pillar, taller than wide, wider than deep, a patched light grey, the limestone turning green at the top.  It reads Joseph Hoffman MDCCCLXX MCMLVI  Karoline Hoffman MDCCCXCIV MCMLXXX.

Zemlinsky’s grave catches my eye: five identical metal abstractions, angled 50 degrees off parallel from the path; each has a straight line on the far side, angled also off from vertical, and on the near side five sharp and differing angles.  1871-1942.

The funereal bell tolls; how quickly it tolls.  

An open grave to my right; wooden ramp leading to the six-foot opening.  

The procession soon follows led by brown clad, elderly, bearded monk.  I cross myself soon before he passes.  And the priest, in royal purple, nods his appreciation, for I have stepped to the side of the gravely road, allowing the hearse to pass.

Wide and deep fields of empty plots stretch far to the North, waiting for the rest of us.

more ATLAS


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