There’s a solitary light on the barn just up the road
that guides my eye through the blackness of night
out across the pasture framed by the kitchen window.
It’s not “The Light” as in the one “at the end of the tunnel”
just a dim glow suspended somewhere between heaven and earth
that we also shouldn’t confuse with the sun not yet risen
nor moon languishing in solitary reflection upon the pond.
Near-death survivors are fond of reporting to have seen
bright white lights and being blinded by flashes
from a choir of angels armed with Kodak Instamatics.
Research scientists at the University of Michigan
now claim that’s just the final electrical pulses firing away
quite automatically in the dying brain as though we were suddenly
and inexplicably connected to the 22,500 megawatts
pumping out of the Three Gorges Dam every second.
“It’s like fire raging through the brain,” one researcher explained,
“furnishing all resultant perceptions
with realer-than-real feelings and emotions.”
Tonight, in the surreal mystery of twilight when everything
slows to stillness, my mind can escape this prison
of skin and bone to soar hawk-like beyond home
where the light on the barn reduces to a pinprick of white
finally consumed by a sea of burning stars
and the realer-than-real rhythm of my beating wings and heart.
I wish I might die a thousand deaths like this before dying
so that the bright white lights flashing all around me
and raging fire consuming my brain are as familiar
in the precise moment of death as they were throughout life.