The Varying Shades of Black

When I die, feel free to call me a child.
Give me a sullen pacifier
decapitated from years of frustrated chewing
to hide my decaying incisors.
Then wrap around me the robe of my birth–-
pure; soft like leather, it is mine.

Sometimes when I gaze into the sun
I see stars of a different composition.
Sometimes when I stare into the night
I see a hole, hollower than space,
deep, deep, I fall until the day
kills me with knives of gold.
The universe, a broad dish closing in on us
becomes larger in perspective as it strikes
the features of our pupils dilated
in the glow of morning. Darker than this evening,
when trees whisper lullabies,
slice their branches into glassy water,
the color of the moon in full bloom,
the color of mud in day.

When I die, feel free to peel my skin away
like a lemon, my body, black and withered
like a premature fetus. The way I am meant to be,
naked in the waning glow of a falling star.
After all, departing is quicker than arriving
yet slower in the mind, like a raindrop,
melting so smoothly on gravel,
friends whispering secrets for the last time,
lovers circumambulating air, chaining it,
whispering please, please don’t go–-
And isn’t death just being borne
back into the darkness from which
we first squinted at starlight?





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