Gravesite

Gravesite

La Réunion cemetery is still around, but it is easy to overlook. It is set far back from a main street in what was once unincorporated West Dallas, partly obscured by a chain-link fence. The things that have been built around it seem banal at first, but when you force yourself to consider each thing, they seem to have an ugliness (the lake-thing, for instance) that is even quite mysterious, and worth some thought. Some parts of Dallas are like that; maybe many parts.

The cemetery is a completely gated community of the dead (although there was a lively black Chihuahua mix in the middle of it when I got there, barking, and never stopping), neighbored by big, plain, new white apartment buildings on two sides, and by a weird little lake in front. The lake is hard to figure out, because it isn’t used for sewage: it seems to be meant to be decorative, but there are no ducks in it or trees around it, and it looks about as forlorn as a lake ever looked, a neatly-kept hole in the ground with water in it, unrippled. A pair of lovers was walking by it, and they stopped to kiss by the cemetery. Since, overall, the entire area looked like a slum reclamation project in which everything but the cemetery had been bulldozed and a hole of water added as a flourish, I could only figure that they showed a certain delicate intuition in kissing by the one beautiful thing in sight, other than each other.

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