The Ancient Modern
Boundary / Joshua Alan Sturgill
When I died,
I wished to speak, but found
I’d lost the words I thought were my possession.
I lost my tongue. I had no breath, no lungs.
I was potential and intent.
I wished to speak
my gratitude, to give the Giver thanks. So
in place of words, I caused fields of wildflowers
to grow on the Moon.
I wished to ask
the Lover for more intimate caresses;
But I could only make the clouds laugh,
sharing secrets with the Sun.
I found in Death
no signifiers, only symbols; no integers,
only ratios — only of and to:
of Summer skies at 4 p.m. in Halifax to oranges
in a red lacquered bowl by a blue kitchen wall;
of the height of sequoias to the prayers
of a long-cloistered nun.
After life, the Real
goes unmediated, unclothed against the soul,
scorching as it soothes. Definitions are impossible
where all is description, or categories
where all is analogy,
and each nature
draws its bold, impermeable boundary
to encompass all else