by Tom Bajoras

Ten centuries from now my name
without me will be like
the air on a planet where no one breathes.

Lightning is a gladiator
slashing a path through the air
and retiring from the arena
before it streaks from retina to brain.

The lightning doesn’t need a name,
so why do I?
I don’t want to be outlived by
a label that I didn’t even choose.

I’ve been told that my soul
has a serial number with a thousand digits
somewhere in a vast celestial filing cabinet.
The number is too hard to remember,
so we invented an alphabet
so that we could invent words
to invent my name,
to invent me.