This Bungled Joy

"Infinity Mirror Room – Filled with the Brilliance of Life," by Yayoi Kusama

Afterlife
by John Burnside, from Gift Songs 

When we are gone
our lives will continue without us

 or so we believe and,
at times, we have tried to imagine

the gaps we will leave being filled
with the brilliance of others:

someone else gathering plums
from this tree in the garden,

someone else thinking this thought
in a room filled with stars

and coming to no conclusion
other than this —

this bungled joy, this inarticulate
conviction that the future cannot come

without the grace
of setting things aside,

of giving up
the phantom of a soul

that only seemed to be
while it was passing.