Fossil

If I can’t live forever then
maybe I just want
to be preserved
precisely and indestructibly
in memory like stone.

Mental records that will endure
for time beyond reckoning –
beyond my reckoning, anyway.
That’s all I ask.

Except memory doesn’t work
like that.

It gets worn away, little by little,
eroded and distorted,
stretched thin and transparent,
until eventually
the matrix in which it’s preserved,
the body and mind
of the one who remembers,
dies too.

I can imagine that.
The death of everyone
who really knew me
is well within my reckoning.
So that’s not enough.

Perhaps I need to build something
that will last for generations:
a legacy.

Progeny worthy of my name.
A body of research or art.
A corporation,
or charity,
or cult.

My personal handmade fossil.
My own lovingly crafted tombstone.
My life’s work:
a regal marker for my grave.

Or could I possibly trust
that the impression
my life has made upon the universe
will be preserved somehow –
embraced in a way that matters,
without needing me to arrange it?

Preserved without
my own self-conscious carving,
my own self-centered craving.

Preserved without
my own self.

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