The brain cells die fast, and blood pools in the sot, pressed places: the scapula, the lower back, the calves. If the body is not covered up, it produces a particular smell called cadaverine, and flies pick up the scent from a mile away. First, just one fly, then the rest. They lay fly eggs and ants come, drawn to the eggs, and sometimes wasps, and always maggots. Beetles and moths, the household kind that eat your sweaters, finish the body; they undress the flesh from the bone. They are the cleanup crew.
She even quotes something the killer said at trial - “Everyone dies of heart failure” - and she seems to agree with that statement as she describes various people in her life dying: no matter what the cause, it equally hurts. (I’d already quoted Bloom’s final paragraph – “I don’t miss the dead less, I miss them more” – for its precision and detail in an earlier entry).
Throughout the story, the narrator is quite morbid; detached. On first read, my students actually thought she might be Anne’s killer – “She seems disturbed,” they said. That’s a valid response, but closer inspection reveals how consumed the narrator is with grief.
Fourteen U.N. staffers, on the agency’s Haiti mission, have been killed in the quake. I’m not going to waste time arguing with Robertson’s outrageous statement. But along with the failure of our media to treat issues seriously, the muck and gamesmanship of politics in general, and my own inability to understand how people can be anything other than kind and grateful to one another, I find myself indignant. We’re surrounded by so much death and sadness that’s not of our own making, whether by accident of man or nature. How dare we diminish others?