— The Tibetan Book of the Dead

They say you don’t always know
when you die, like when you’re dreaming and the peach that you’re
eating seems juicy, sticky, real,
even though it is only a dream peach.

When you die,
you go on walking upstairs
to your room or lying in bed wanting
a glass of water, whatever your habit.

Then a sudden click of the door
terrifies you, will kill you, you think;
even though you are dead
and have no body
to lose, you still think
you have a body to lose.

And you will see your relatives mourning —
What? you wonder — and there will be bonfires
on the coast.

You could choose Paradise, but what do you want with Paradise,
birthless, deathless realm of the boring and
holy, when you could try again for fame on earth, have opinions,
be determined, sharp, firm? One whiff of heaven and who does not retreat
to the dark, sweet-smelling womb, giving up the resting
place of the holy,
getting life instead?