AR (12/3/1947 / Central Illinois)

The New Neighbor

Everyone is looking at death
as if it were a new neighbor
that just bought a house
down the street.
Death has moved nearby
you whisper uneasily,
I don’t feel safe:
where are the kids?
where is my husband?
where are my parents?
Death has always been around
it just upgraded, it bought
the mansion at the top of the hill.
Death is nothing to fear,
death is the landlord,
death is the Realm of Light
far more vast than this shadowy,
partial world in which we live and breathe.
You will continue, everything will continue
in the Realm of Light,
but it may be unrecognizable,
the language is different,
the rules are different,
the sun is a different color,
the stars are closer,
you can sit on the moon like
a cushion, in death’s vast realm.
What can you lose, in death,
and what can you gain?
It is best to learn the new language,
the new rules, soon, as soon as you can,
learn to drink the stars,
learn to eat the sun,
learn to harvest the light,
learn to breathe the rays,
learn to continue. Learn to
bring your love with you,
learn to let those you love,
come with you.
Death is the oldest neighbor of all;
you can die, this very second,
in the blink of an eye……..
and, after this mighty pause,
you are still alive, still reading,
but the rules are different,
the neighborhood is different,
the ways of speaking to your friends
are different.
The ways of speaking to God
are different.
Do this now: apologize to God
for being hurtful and small,
for being greedy and spiteful.
Then move on. One apology is enough,
for now. You won’t stop being hurtful
and small, not completely,
but you have looked at yourself
against the vast backdropp of death,
of the Realm of Light,
and you have changed.

(2007/written October 2001)

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