You have helped the dead enter the afterlife,
The dead, who have carried their 21 grams
of soul, so much less than a pound,
even less than a kilogram, the weight of our essence,
a summation of all we have been and seen,
the weight of us and the depth
of how we have loved.
Royal Isis, with a throne upon your head,
I beg you now to turn people away
from the land of the dead,
to evaluate the recent population growth there,
keep the gates closed to new entries.
On earth, it is a new moon,
the night sky is dark and we are overwhelmed
with death, can’t suffer its antics,
its bad jokes, its salty cold tea.
The songs of the mountains reach to us,
but we cannot hear the lyrics or the melodies,
just a whine of the hollowing of trees.
We try to hold the colors of the sky,
but instead, end up balancing its weight
on the edges of our 21 grams.
It’s the fear, Isis,
that we are beginning to hold of each other.
It began with the fear of contagion,
turned to fear of breath, of touch,
of all that makes us dangerously, gloriously human.
When people come in their full party dresses,
their holey pajamas, their strained smiles,
their chests gasping for air, ask them
to turn back.
Then take a vacation for yourself.
Close the afterlife down for another time
when we’re more ready with carnations,
waiting to say a proper goodbye.