"The last heartbeat": a poem by Helen Dunmore

The last heartbeat washes the body clean of pain
in a tide of endorphins,
the last sound coils into the ears, and stirs
ossicles, cochlea, the tiny hairs.

For a day or more
long after the onlookers
have turned away
thinking it’s all over

the firework show of synapses
and the glorious near-touch
of axons in the brain
slowly dies down
to a last, exquisite connection.

This article first appeared in the 18 June 2012 issue of the New Statesman, Drones: video game warfare