Vibrancy by ChristyAnn Righi
I don’t know how my body will decay.
Perhaps I will have a heart attack in a forest.
One day I will collapse in the woods I have fought to nurture and
love with my soul, and it will consume me.
My lips will be feasted on by foxes
eyes plucked by a badger
and I will see how they see the forest.
My sternum will burst with mushrooms
who pull my muscles into new cells,
feeding the soil with all of my breath.
My gut a new world for the beetles,
who burrow into the intestines and
The wolf with his brothers can tear into my chest;
My ribs finally free of the flesh I wrapped myself in.
My heart will be consumed by maggots,
and my spine,
how it held me up,
will crumble to dust in service to the deer who walks across it.
When my skull breaks down I will understand the language of roots
and my soul will travel up the trunks of every tree
to feel what the sun is like on rain-soaked leaves.
Or perhaps I will be burned as I sleep.
A storm will ignite the underbrush of my home and devour me into ash.
I will then stick underfoot when all of the creatures come out of hiding from such a brutal heat
and join the breezes that carry my dust across the ground.
I will spring up in every seedling fighting for sun and know how to survive in a way humans cannot.
Or perhaps I will be buried by the living.
I had friends who cradled my body when my soul laid it to rest
and they tucked me into the earth under a sapling.
I think it may be a peach, and I will bear fruit in the time of its maturity and understand how to give life.
Years later, they will visit with their children
They will fill their growing bellies with sweet fruit
And thank a woman they have never known
For nourishment I can give in death.
Or perhaps I will be drowned by the ocean.
I will feel my time and wade out into the sea
where the beginnings of life emerged to let it lay claim to the shell that harbored me.
The stingrays that I adored will graze over the soft flesh waterlogged in salt for their own young,
and I will finally breathe underwater.
I will dash against the rocks in a storm and strips of my skin will be found by the starfish.
My bones will drift and give algae a root, teaching me a humility at the bottom of a food chain I didn’t consider before.
My blood will mix with the krill to be consumed by whales, and I will finally know what it is like to dive deep.
But I don’t know.