What size is a life?
Laid out flat how many miles
would all the thoughts, desires and acts,
the books you read, the things you said,
the mental images in your head
stretch across the sky?
Would missed opportunities leave gaps
through which the stars would shine at night?
And when your time has come to die,
does this fabric that you made
slowly crumble day-to-day
as those who knew you forge ahead,
and memories slowly fade away,
till loved ones join you with the dead?
Or does it stay forever fresh,
existence caught within a mesh,
never seen but ever present,
evoking all you represent.
For good or evil are you there,
invisible and unaware,
your history weaving in the air
amid the billions gone before,
in age and infancy, peace and war?
And if the atmosphere retains
all those thoughts in all those brains
eternally, to never leave,
are you in the air we breathe?
Do all the joys and all the pains,
all the losses, all the gains,
all the errors, all the wisdom,
all the strengths and inhibitions
invoke a change in our decisions?
©Jane Paterson Basil