Notes from the Heretic

(for J.D.S., OFM)

Lithic bas relief. This rock,
incarnation after incarnation of life turned limestone.

Eons of mute souls fossilized
reincarnate again in living strata.
The soul a hardly destructible ethereal fossil.

My preference will be to drift my ashy
way out of the crematorium
as an act more nearly atomic than
the mud of grave-rotting, but

mud is something organic anyway—
the ooze primordial soothing once again
and a pregnant fen of nebula
for something raw to start from
again again again again.

Microbe or electron maybe:
one, other, both, neither—quark maybe,
but always something, all teasing toward life,
limbo, bardo, or dimension,
imagination, pneuma, ruah, the next new breath.

Then one moment breath disappears, goes away awry.
So far awry that away no longer means.

You will no longer discover this way away until you fail
to remember that you need no longer look,
will no longer remember

Can I forget remembering?
Hot, fast blood to cold depth—
Ahab and Whale: one felt only nearby,
one seen distantly until clash and mating:

with death? Lucretius plans the population
of a quantum dispensation:
In my end

is a fledgling electron,
incommunicado and alone for a new start,
with how many billions of galaxies to wonder about in?

Maybe more and more, the whole
filled with form,
and nothing void.

Richard Fenton Sederstrom was raised and lives in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and the North Woods of Minnesota. Sederstrom is the author of seven books of poetry, his newest book, Icarus Rising, Misadventures in Ascension, published by Jackpine Writers' Bloc, was released last winter. Read other articles by Richard Fenton.