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Note to the Future - Chris Wood

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"Note to the Future"

Say what you will, but we were happy then.
Life was more precious when we knew death
as a passenger in a car, cancer
in the body, murder in the form of a hand.

These were not things that had to be spelled out
for us, by whoever was doing the spelling.
We were quite death-literate then
and dealt with it often, or didn't speak of it much
when we saw it or ate it every day.
Death was life's rent, and when our time came,
we went.

We spoke of our dead as though they had lived
without proof, for in dying
they had lived more than us,
had existed more than you,
though I don't expect you to understand,
being alive yourself, as alive as I am now
(though I bet you've overlooked that).

It wasn't what we did or said
that seemed important at the time. Instead,
life was the people we became
while we interned here.
Our eyes made art of what they saw.
Our ears turned air into music.
Our tongues were curious enough
to get us in bed or in trouble,
and our minds were sponges
you couldn't wring thoughts from.

You who find this may never know
how often we stood in awe, in silence,
of death's flagged face. We offered our prayers
to our gods, finding relief -- if only for a moment --
from the weight of the occasion, knowing full well
that grief was as brief as a candle or an eye.
We buried or burned our dead, left our flowers,
went on living, because we knew we wanted to.
Dying ended with death, and life continued living.
Time ticked with us or without us.

There's something to be said
for assuring the next that the now is fine.
Only remember this
because I'm dying to tell you:
Every day we woke with one more chance
at happiness in our heads,
for the world as we knew it
was still filled with wonder
as we wandered like children
within what was given
we were happy then, say what you will.



Chris Wood lives in Albany, Georgia (USA).

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