How to Be Dead.
You can forget the body, since it soon grows cold.
Much harder to forget your name, holding
its warmth inside it like a coral sea.
Forget the light. Even the loam there shines,
and faces shine, and shade. Forget the moon,
because instead, a steady moan of sharp wings
wrings from you a thick harvest of praise,
a sound like flies drowning in honey,
perfection stiff as mud frozen in snow.
Forget the snow. The crude prelude of days
you leave behind dissolves like dross, or chaff
winnowed from rows of wheat. Forget those too.
All our apostrophes to snuffed-out stars
might part the smoke and chorus you, well dressed,
through rarer air. But first, you can't forget
to kick yourself clear of our atmosphere,
slick gravity, this rash of sun, past flesh
and blood, freed from the orbit of their need.
When we put the hymnals down, corral
our vowels inside consonants, fence in our griefs,
you'll still be dead. The dead survive
outside our sentences, past songs, and after Earth,
beyond the burnt-sap smell of March, the blood moon
of November, the haymaking of June.