What It Feels Like to Die
After an article in The Atlantic, 9/9/16
Awareness withdraws from the edges of the body.
Voices dangle down to you. You notice them
Time, a zodiac. The past happening all at once
in different directions.
Voices, a flashlight pointing down from the rim.
The sound of water dripping
and the bark of a dog like one from your childhood.
Someone had thrown a ball. The dog barked twice, then ran.
The body’s borders, the shoreline of a vast country.
You walk its night-time interior
with just enough light to make out the road beside you.
Or sit at a desk with other children, head down,
eyes pressed against your forearm, watching
the colors and patterns there.
A car traveling away from you at great speed.
From somewhere below, the leaping of a cat
off a high surface, now skittering across the floor.
Then someone says a name you recognize
and pressure on your hand is a floodlight snapping on—
you squeeze, feel a warmth there
A voice speaks. Each word a flush of color on the horizon.
A hillside, late August. You and your brother pointing up
at a quick
bright line flashing between stars.
Or alone in a dark room, with walls you only
sense are there.
Voices, warm hands press against a door
from the outside. Voices, the warm hands receding.
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Photo by Kenneth McLennan/Flickr