Boxed Noir  

What should I do with this? is my first thought when the funeral director hands me a squeaky Styrofoam container, not as big as a bread box. Does he buy them at Wal-Mart? I try not to titter, but it’s a bizarre way to receive someone’s remains. I’m not looking inside, not now, not ever. I take the box, grin at the director, and leave. I know where I’ll put it. On the woodpile in the garage. When I get around to it, I’ll place it in the forest behind our cottage. If a deer nudges it, topples it over and it leaks dust-to-dust into the mulch of leaves and pine needles to enrich the soil I can only think at last the departed did something selfless. 

—Ann Arntson,  Monona, WI