Photograph by Alex Majoli / Magnum for The New Yorker

Death Is Coming

Death is coming, and I can’t stop it,

even if I were an Angel with a flaming sword

I can’t halt Death’s advance


I can’t afford bus fare to the funeral.

So many words left unsaid,

Not in anger, but in love.

Words unspeakable on the phone,

Because I need to see their faces,

I need to see their eyes,

And I want them to see me.

Death is no conscious entity—

No Seventh Seal, no Sandman

But a very big can of insect repellent

Wiping us out, indiscriminate,

(This is not news.)

I love cemeteries, I love the sleepers in the ground,

With their tombstones, their names,

Their stop and start dates.

And I know—more to come.

Not strangers. The ones I love.

And I still won’t have bus fare.

November 3, 2017


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