This is ancient land, this is hallowed ground, this is 21 kilometers worth of tunnels.
Blood stops flowing after death because the heart is no longer beating; no longer forcing blood to gush through veins and arteries and vessels. It gets lazy, becomes stagnant. Slowly slides down to the lowest point on the body; creates a reddish purple discoloration on the skin similar to a bruise, but not quite the same thing.
This is what I imagine the fifth level of the catacombs to look like: a reddish purple discoloration spread across my mother’s back.
This is what I see when I close my eyes and rub them a bit too hard for a bit too long. This is what I see when I look into a hole in the stone walls that is big enough to fit an infant. This is what I see in the reflection of the Trevi Fountain. This is what I see when I try to remember the shape of my mother’s sleeping body as it curled in on itself on top of a flat hospital mattress.
The color of death is not black, is not white. The color of death is the color of blood: the way it looks through the skin after having hours and days and weeks to slowly slink down into the lowest bend of the body.
This is the reddish umbra of the earth that the eclipsed moon hides behind. This is my body given for you. Take and eat. Do this is the remembrance of me.