maybe when we die

a person shields a candle's flame with their hand in the dark

cw: this poem contains references to war crimes, death, and injustice

maybe when we die,
our heart’s memories are wiped clean
and we do not dwell inside
the trauma which preceded us in life.

but maybe when we die,
the beings who went before us
gather around to catch our last tears
and hear the lament of our last cries.

maybe when we die,
we will only be free
from hatred
from war
from genocide
from injustice
because our ancestors learned to be free
of this same pain
now that they are also dead.

maybe when we die,
soul-deep griefs are eased
not because we forget,
as if the pain never happened,

but because now is the time
when we can truly mend,
now that we can no longer be murdered,
wiped out,
sick unto death.

maybe when we die,
we will feel the relief
of the feeling of relief.
and our burdens will transform into stardust
and perhaps re-emerge as love.

maybe when we die,
we wait with arms open
to hold arriving souls
who are crying out for justice
and need their voices to be heard,
in a forever-ness not afforded to them
in life.

by Nix Kelley, October 26 2023

I am buffeted by the overwhelming tragedies befalling those being ethnically cleansed, those who need five more dollars to pay the rent next week so they aren’t evicted, those who need the resources to escape the threat of death.

The world is too cruel for me to cope, sometimes. Sometimes it takes all my energy to hold the slightest space between me and all this profound injustice, so that I can remember to eat food and drink water as well as weep and demand that this should change.

Free Palestine.

featured image is a photo by BBC Creative on Unsplash

Nix Kelley
Co-parent to multiple kids. Writer. Death doula. Member of the Order of the Good Death. Seeker on the Path of Light. Queer, non-binary, & trans.


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