Crayon, 1955

Jacques-Louis David. Death of Marat, 1793. 65x51 inches. Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels.

When I turned the page my skin crawled cold. A man with a rag wrapped around his head hanging sideways was lying in a box or a bathtub with a board across it like a table. He held a letter in one hand and a feather pen in the other, but he was dead, or maybe just dying. The Death of Marat, it was called. A tiny, maroon cut in his chest leaked a trickle of blood. The bathwater looked like raspberry juice. The way light fell on him, the sheet behind him, his head rag, and his skin all glowed with the same color, a pale greenish yellow. My stomach cramped. It was like Gramp's skin. It gave me the chills, it was so real. I knew it wasn't good for me to look at it, I would be sorry later, but I couldn't stop myself.