Whatever the great religions offer
it is afterlife their people want:
Heaven, Paradise, higher reincarnations,
together or apart—
for these they will love God, or butter Karma.
Afterlife. Wherever it already exists
people will crawl into ships’ framework
or suffocate in truck containers to reach it,
they will conjure it down
on their beaches and their pooled clay streets,
inject it, marry into it.
The secular withholds any obeisance
that is aimed upwards.
It must go declaratively down,
but “an accident of consciousness
between two eternities of oblivion”—
all of us have done one
of those eternities already, on our ear.
After the second, we require an afterlife
greater and stranger than science gives us now,
life like, then unlike
what mortal life has been.
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Bernardo Atxaga, Pirpo and Chanberlán, Murderers
Ben Fountain, The Lion's Mouth
James Lasdun, An Anxious Man
Rick Moody, The Omega Force
David Bergman, A Hard Rain in Hartford
Don Bogen, Two Poems
Constantine P. Cavafy, Four Poems
Jeff Dolven, This Is a City of Bridges
Kate Light, Skipping
Gianmarc Manzione, Three Poems
Deborah Pease, Ballad
Elizabeth Brewster Thomas, Two Poems
Pimone Triplett, Last Score
Sidney Wade, Two Poems
Stefi Weisburd, First In Vitro Photograph of a Human Embryo
Joel Whitney, Croatoan
Kyle Wills, Looking for the Lost
Charles Glass, Democracy in Arabia