Instructions for My Proper Burial
When I die, don’t you dare put me in a box,
And don’t you dare put me in a yard with other deadboxed.
Don’t you dare.
When I die, separate me into the humors.
Sort me into my constructive pieces like the Egyptians did.
Cut my feet at the ankles and bury them halfway up the mountain at Towsley Canyon, just outside Santa Clarita.
Bury them in one-hundred-degree heat, in August, when the hook seeds burrow their way into shoes and socks;
poky little reminders of where you’ve been, and where you should go back to.
Cut my hair, if I have any left, and let it go on a windy day from the barnacled rocks just outside the cabin in Boothbay, if it still stands.
Watch the strands as they slowly glom to the seaweed mess combing the water’s surface.
Feed my tongue to the mourning doves, if they’ll have me.
Hide my ribs under boulders in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
Take one of my eyes to just outside Salmon,
to the green grass that feeds up the mountain slopes,
and point it towards the Tetons.
Take the other one and leave it out on a flat rock under the infinite desert stars of New Mexico.
Bury my hands in the sand beaches by the Redwoods, if they still stand;
the hands flat, in supplication.
Pour my blood out into a wash in an unknown canyon while the snowcapped La Sals watch quietly.
Cut my vocal cords from my throat and hang them from quaking aspens in Roosevelt National Forest.
Leave my nose in a lemon orchard.
Throw my teeth in the Merced, to be slowly worked and moved and polished to pearls before they tumble into the Pacific.
Blow my eyelashes into the Midwestern prairie like old dandelion seeds.
Crush my bones and sprinkle the dust along the shores of the smallest islands in Casco Bay.
Leave my ears out on the secret purple rocks at Crescent Beach in Scarborough so that I can hear the ocean breathe.
Leave my veins under the dark canopy of the thick old beech tree,
guardian of the yard of grandma’s house in West Springfield.
Nail the skin of my back to the serpentine walls of Buckskin Gulch in Pariah,
so I can feel the floods as they smooth the rock century over century.
Drop my toes into the big pond in the JP Arboretum, for curious fish to nibble.
Press my lips to the soft spongy bark of a Sequoia.
Press my cheeks to flaking birch tree trunks.
Leave my lungs out in a storm, in a Nor’easter, or in the Santa Anas,
or the winds that bend the tall grass in the plains.
Pluck my eyebrows and weave them into blankets for cold caterpillars.
Cut my muscle from the bone and fashion it into ladders for the alewives during their upstream ordeal.
Submerge my forehead into the high ocean waves off of Hatteras Island just before a hurricane,
and then cross over and lower it into the placid Sound, where young brothers dropped lines and sea snakes roam.
Plunk my butt into Goldbug Hot Springs and weigh it down against the rocks under the surface.
Try not to startle any naked bathers.
Throw my shit against the window of a skyscraper in Manhattan, preferably a high window,
maybe one belonging to an overpaid executive.
Bury my heart in my backyard.
If I’ve lived well, it will be full of trees.
Hide my fears in chipmunk holes.
Hide my smile in Appalachian mists.
Drip my tears from Oregon ferns.
Tie my regrets to the fur of coyotes while they scream ungodly at night outside Galt in the early spring.
Take my laugh and throw it off the great rock walls of Zion.
Wrap my determination around the gnarled juniper trees that make their long tortured lives in the unforgiving desert.
Lay my wisdom around ravens’ feet, the ones that wait for you on high, desolate peaks.
Sew my misunderstandings into the thousand spider webs strung across Daniel Boone National Forest.
Place my triumphs on the steady beetles’ backs,
who are always plodding towards exactly where they need to go.
Take my screams to the Rockies; scramble up the crumble above Sky Pond and unleash them there.
Float my dreams in small leafboats down the ever-flowing waterfalls east of Portland, Oregon.
Take my wonder and blow it in big wobbling bubbles over the Eastern Prom towards abandoned Fort Gorges off the coast of Portland, Maine.
Drown my anger in frothy ten foot swell off of Jewell Island.
Bury my embarrassment under twelve inches of fresh snow,
when the towns and cities and forests are quietest,
and no one is outside,
and the ocean turns gray and smooth like a large metal lid.
Pour my strength on all the spring buds on North Street at the top of Munjoy Hill.
Rain my love down in tiny crumpled pieces over the burning trees beyond Mount Bradbury in autumn.
Let out my sighs at the Long Reach Preserve in Harpswell,
at the opening in the pines where the wind blows you free of the pesky flies and hungry mosquitoes,
at the tidal river where you can see the unnamed island,
where the ospreys swoop and the ancient horseshoe crabs mate in the mud at low tide.
Take my last breath and let it out, part by part, in all the wild and beautiful places I never knew.
You need do nothing regarding my soul.
It has already been saved many times over,
and it will find its way to wherever it will go.
Take my memories for yourself.
Take my words to the young people with bright eyes and light feet.
Peter Jacobs was born on the Outer Banks and grew up in and currently lives in Maine. He has traveled a few times around the US and likes exploring natural places.