Poem, January 7, 2016

What do you think happens when we die?


My grandparents rang in the New Year by themselves-

48 years of watching a ball drop and smiling.

‘I wasn’t going to get up to kiss your grandpa,

But then I remembered the years I spent looking for that kiss,

The thousands of people who aren’t kissing but want to be.

So I got up and we danced.’

I’d called to ask her what she thinks happens when we die,

And although I hadn’t asked, she’d answered.


Do we cease to exist?

Do we become reincarnate?

Does the soul sail into some kind of bliss?

What is one soul to the universe?

E v e r y t h i n g


I will never have enough time-

Too many books, unwritten poems, unvisited countries;

Too many bands to discover, too many languages to learn;

Too many movies to make me weep;

Too many strangers-turned-friends in unmade hostel beds.

There’s too much that’s alive in this life.


When my best friend dies I’m sure she’ll become the sun,

Or the forest on some unattainable hillside that always faces the light.


I don’t know if I’ll ever have a confident answer-

If I’ll ever be certain in my belief of afterwards.

But I don’t think my soul will ever stop reading, writing,

Traveling, listening, watching, learning, weeping.

Perhaps I’ll sit, invisible, in all of my favorite places in the world

(Cinque Terre trail, Mars Hill, Hagia Sophia, Rila Mountain)

All of them, all at once, always.


Someday my grandparents will pass

And on their journey to elsewhere,

Or while in elsewhere,

Or while ceasing to exist,

It’ll be New Years Eve, and they’ll be dancing.


Erika Gallion


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