A Whole New Life

"Meditation from 14A"
by Jennifer Maier, from Dark Alphabet


And what if the passage out of this life
is like a flight from Seattle to St. Louis—

the long taxi out of the body, the brief
and terrible acceleration, the improbable

buoyancy, and then the moment when,
godlike, you see the way things fit

together: the grave and earnest roads
with their little cars, stitching their desires

with invisible thread; the tiny pushpin houses
and backyard swimming pools, dreaming

the same blue dream. And who but the dead
may look down with impunity on these white

birds, strewn like dice above the river whose name
you have forgotten, though you know,

having crossed the Divide, that it flows 
east now, toward the vast, still heartland,

its pinstriped remnants of wheat and corn
laid out like burial clothes. And how

you would like to close your eyes, if only
you could stop thinking about that small scratch

on the window, more of a pinprick, really,
and about yourself sucked out! anatomized!—

part of you now (the best part) a molecule
of pure oxygen, breathed in by the farmer

on his tractor; by the frightened rabbit
in the ditch; by a child riding a bike

in Topeka; by the sad wife of a Mexican
diplomat; by a dog, digging up a bone

a hundred years in the future, that foreign city
where you don't know a soul, but where you think

you could start over, could make a whole
new life for yourself, and will.