Your heart stops beating.
Or your brain flatlines.
Goodbyes flood from your family and friends.
When they die, your death zone extends
until there is no place on Earth
where you were alive to those living.
One day farther in the future,
in a library or archives,
a stranger, slowly flipping
through a magazine or book,
or finding a newspaper clipping
in an internet search,
comes across your name
while reading something you wrote or said or did.
He or she pronounces it
silently in the mind or mentions
it casually to companions
while they’re eating sandwiches
on a bench in a park,
washing it down with a sip of water.
Welcome back where you started, in the dark.