Both the atheist and the believer have it wrong.
We are not mere bodies, nor do we have souls.
Heaven would be a room strewn with books
and nary an errand to distract from reading;
what more could I want from an afterlife than
more of this life, stripped to its essential joy?
And death would come, not when the electric
hum that throbs between my ears falls silent,
but when that elixir which, if mixed just right,
forms a memory in mankind, dissolves like
a helium balloon floating into nothingness.
For all our poetry, our atrocities and good deeds,
the atoms that make us could just as well have
made a rock, a worm, a body of water. We are
not so special, you and I, though we have loved
and murdered one another, save for this:
on a Sunday morning I awake to a riot of birds
singing, neighbors walking their dogs, pastors
and poets crafting their bromides and half-truths,
and hope, if not pray, my son will grow to see
how beautiful the world is to the naked eye.