Afterlife —Alison Roh Park
At my autopsy, who watches? If my death is the kind that requires it, when they crack me open like an origami fortune-teller, the contents will be thick with blood. I had my tonsils removed years ago, and all the surgeon found were layers of scar tissue; he had to peel one off of the other. I imagine my insides are like that, smooth and brilliant in the operating light. One could read my organs like the transversals of the palm and have the sudden silent eureka that nothing has truly mattered.
None of the self-mutilation, the cascading implosions of human suffering, the collapsing to the walls, to the ghosts you had lived with for so long, the grasping onto your own humanity like a wet seed. There is not even a trace of importance, only the dilution of those things into a sea of endless volume.
Instead, under the ribcage, a knot of light, and in it, all those flickering minute lights—my brother, fingers linked behind his back like in his childhood photos, looking at his firstborn in the hum of incubators: driving through a deciduous landscape, no other human for miles, swollen clouds casting and releasing entire mountains as they please: the integrity of my pain: that no single illusion succeeded in pretending intimacy and my reality, unshaken, withstood: waking alone to the world, to a southeast sun rising like a bright and lazy coin and: the arrival at knowledge, a slow-braking train, an incremental explosion that fills the atmosphere.