In the moment of transition between life and death only one thing changes:
you lose the momentum of the biochemical cycles that keep the machinery
running. In the moment before death you are still composed of the same
thousand trillion, trillion atoms as in the moment after death.
As you degrade, your atoms become incorporated into new constellations:
the leaf of a staghorn fern, a speckled snail-shell, a kernel of maize,
a beetle's mandible, a waxen bloodroot, a ptarmigan's tail feather.
But it turns out your thousand trillion, trillion atoms were not an
accidental collection, each was labeled as composing you,
and continues to be so wherever it goes.
So you're not gone, you're simply taking on different forms.
Instead of your gestures being the raising of an eyebrow or a blown kiss,
now a gesture might consist of a rising gnat, a waving wheat stalk and the
inhaling lung of a breaching beluga whale.
Your manner of expressing joy might become a seaweed sheet playing
on a lapping wave, a pendulous funnel dancing from a cumulo-nimbus,
a flapping grunion birthing, a glossy river-pebble gliding around an eddy.
From your present clumped point of view this afterlife may sound
unnervingly distributed, but in fact it is wonderful.
You can't imagine the pleasure of stretching your redefined body across
vast territories, ruffling your grasses and bending your pine branch and
flexing an egret's wing while pushing a crab towards the surface
through coruscating shafts of light.
Love-making reaches heights it could never dream of in the compactness
of human corporality.
Now you can communicate in many places along your bodies at once,
you weave your versatile hands over your lover's multiflorous figure.
Your rivers run together.
You move in concert as interdigitating creatures of the meadow,
entangled vegetation bursting from the fields, caressing weather fronts
that climax into thunderstorms.