Flatlining in the New World

in the new world,
death will be an allegory
turned into an idiom
which means
“to hesitate” or
“to cease momentarily”

as in:
“Mary, I’m dying on this menu.
Baked penne
or pasta prima vera?”

as in:
“Joe died at the green light
and missed his chance.”

as in:
“Die before you leap.”

in the old world
death is a way of expressing desire
or shock.

as in:
“I’m dead! I died. I’m dying to tell you”

Death has a way of implementing
A thousand other words to take its place.
Death has a way
of crawling into other
vernacular spaces
like a mold
to mean a thousand things it is not.

In the new world
death will be a theory
like gravity
or evolution
or strings.

people of the new world
will find better ways
to synthesize a living body
with biodegradable cartilage
and saline fluids
to prolong the great hesitation

people will find better ways
to avoid decay
don’t judge them
you do it too.
refrigerators and freezers, preservatives and varnish
formaldehyde, vinegar, sealed boxes

in the new world
bodies don’t rot.
they only dissipate
our plastics are environmentally friendly.

we will have
such sophisticated holographic techniques
informed by state of the art archival devices
recorded from birth
that when you are finally gone
they won’t know the difference.
they won’t even miss you.

you would have wanted it this way.