You will miss the strong sharp smell of onions frying in butter, and the sweet smell of lilacs like Victorian Valentines all lace and flowers and smirking cupids, and the acrid smell of cow manure baking in the sunlit fields of summer.
While you are dead you will miss the great dark fir trees silhouetted against the slowly lightening sky at the moment of first dawn. You will miss the infinite varieties of green that saturate the land, and the rivers cutting through craggy mountains, singing their screeing songs to the crisp air and hunting eagles. And the traveling clouds across the moon, gray with orange rims and deep white centers.
While you are dead you will miss the first sip of morning coffee, fixed just right with cream and honey, and served in a thick white mug. You will miss sitting at a seaside café and lazily sipping the day away, just you and a bottle of cheap Retsina.
While you are dead you will miss tending your garden; the dew on the early morning spider webs strung between the rosebushes, the dark smell of earth in your nose, the rough feel of dirt between your fingers, and even the ache in your knees. You will miss the little breezes freshening across your damp forehead, the pull against your hands of the weeds clinging to life, and the dog turds decorating your uncut lawn.
While you are dead you will miss the fierce lifting winds which whirl newspapers into a cloud and force your hair straight back in a thick plank, the winds which carry your joyful shouts away to mysterious lands of strangers and party dust. You will miss stomping through piles of autumn leaves rising in a big cloud of yellow, and flicking their wet skins across your cheeks. While you are dead you will miss strolling through open-air street markets, swirling with movement and color and light, and raucous with the sounds of salesmen and insects. You will miss wandering down old cobblestoned streets and mysterious alleys of ancient European cities. You will miss the discovery of musty libraries tended by wizened librarians whose ivory cheeks are as creased and faded as the pages of their dusty books.
While you are dead you will miss the limpid eyes of kittens and puppies, and the stories of children who know no reality or sniff-seated judgment. You will miss seeing your grandfather lay his parchment cheek against that of his newborn grandson, and you will miss combing the thin white hair of your mother over her tender pink scalp.
While you are dead, all these pleasures you will miss, but if you can name them, they may be waiting for you when you return.
Abridged from Eating Mythos Soup: poemstories for Laura, ©2000 Kim Pearson