“What it must be,” she began and paused, hands lifting like feathers. “What it must be like, to be that …”

“Free?” he answered. “Light? Unencumbered?”

She thought a moment, then tilted her head and shrugged. “Quiet?”

He reached to cup her elbow without a thought; he had to touch her. She did not resist. Her forearm dropped onto his. They stood like that, facing each other, one arm to one arm, for a long time and did not speak or look into each other’s eyes.

She broke the silence with a cough, then: “Don’t bury me.”

“I wouldn’t,” he answered, eyes dropping into the dark soil around the gleaming capsule. “I won’t.”

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I acknowledge that I live and work on stolen Cowlitz, Clackamas, Atfalati, and Kalapuya land.
I give respect and reverence to those who came before me.