The Options

Original Text: 
David Zieroth, Crows do not have Retirement (Madeira Park, B.C.: Harbour Publishing, 2001): 125-26.
1When you die
2here are the options:
3everything or oblivion
4A centre of light and around it
5all you love, those dead
6and those abiding still
7and each holding
8an object of endearment
9you lost long ago
10before you came to
11know and be simultaneously
12at last
13at rest
14beyond words
15Or else your cells
16stop their chemical
17talk, the neurons say no
18and their warmth leaves you
19not with black
20not even the absence of black--
21nothing of earth's up, round, biomass, span
22just the nonexistence
23you tried to conjure once
24by closing your eyes and
25sleeping, except that dreams
26fired their figments
27across space at you
28and your muscles straining
29While we live
30we pick one of these options
31to live by, and neither is understood
32the way the robin in the tree is
33who speaks to us of March lust,
34the way water and clouds are
35which tell us to walk out
36into the day, how to step
37on grass and mud and feel the pull
38upward and then sag an hour later
39down, we with our little time
40and our ideas and our blood
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire / Sharine Leung
RPO Edition: 
Special Copyright: 

Copyright © David Zieroth. Written permission is required to republish the poem.