Cells die, but not the hundred trillion atoms
within each one–they’ve been around
since the stars were born and will be here ever after.
Even a body gone up in smoke does not lose a single atom.
Skin, blood, bones turn to water, gas, minerals.
So widely are atoms recycled that a billion of our own
once belonged to Shakespeare.
Knowing this helps.
Now that you are gone
you could be anywhere:
inside a red maple leaf,
or the twitching tail of a tadpole,
in the taste of a honeydew melon,
in the sigh of a thousand strangers,
in the hollow you left within my arms.
This poem was originally published by Minnow Literary Review.