Dreamtime Funeral


I see in the news, that there’s a funeral in Teignmouth. An Australian aborigine has died, a long way from home, and visitors to the funeral will be security checked, as sacred objects will be on display by his body. 

 
I go to a dark church. Inside, his body is prepared on an altar, surrounded by artefacts. No one asks who I am. Guys with scanners and cameras photograph the body. I think this is wrong. A young woman in a tribal mask, plays didgeridoo. The ceremony begins. We discuss the deceased. I learn he had mental health issues like my own, and I wonder if we ever crossed paths. I’m not the only one not to have met him. There’s an aboriginal word for this discussion of the dead, but I don’t remember it. I say how sad it is to die so far from home, in such a different culture. I see how many people have turned out for him, and it makes me happier. Music starts to play. His friends improvise tribal dances. I kiss the woman in the mask. She is kind, and curvaceous. She has a partner. I tell her how lucky he is, and how lucky she is, to be such a genuine, caring, person. 
 
I walk over to the band. Some are topless, and tattooed. They take it in turns to lay by the body, sharing one last dream with the dead. I think how I’d like my funeral to be as moving as this. There’s a bird, like a kiwi, but its beak is sideways. It attacks me. The masked woman tries to calm it, but I have to restrain it by the neck, until it calms down, used to me. 
 
I leave the funeral. Outside, sculptures of steel legs vanish into the low clouds. 
 
I’m at home. It’s my parents house. Larger. Cleaner. We have visitors. I try to google the strange bird, but can’t find my phone. The bulb in my lamp has gone, and the light switch is broken. I ask my mum if I can borrow a lamp. It has no bulb. I break the plug when I pull it out. I’m frustrated. Everything here is broken. I search through cupboards hidden in the walls, amazed at how much stuff my mum has, but no bulbs of the right type. I try to fix the plug. A spring pops out, and I shape it into a beautiful, oscillating, symmetrical pattern. 
 
I’m back in my own bed. Something with tentacles is thrashing to my left. I call out for my mum, and wake up. 
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