“‘The Additional Thing’ (below) was the final poem written by American poet John Turner Wiley before his death at age 66 in a 2007 car crash in the Blue Ridge Mountains.” Pencil sketch.
The Additional Thing
It takes 14 seconds for the soul to burn.
The process begins with a synaptic firing,
igniting a network of celestial complexity,
meshing, near instantaneously, with hormonal flows
and multiple streams of sensory data
from the interface of the nervous system
with the world beyond.
The world within, comprised of these operations,
and the additional thing that creates
continuity of self, resonance of memory,
and the conscious and unconscious weaving of context
from which meaning and reality are composed,
is in 14 seconds overcome by the fire
and dissolves in a heap of unconsecrated ash.