Death, quoth the paper of record,
Goes in and out of fashion. Life
Is also for the dying. Yes?
Life is also for the living
Would be more aptly surprising,
But the living are the dying,
The obsessing, the denying.
For myself, I don't like the claim
That mourning should be communal.
We're too unkind to loneliness.
We're always improving our death
Or supervising someone's death
Or sticking communal noses
Like dogs into stinking corpses.
Of death, rituals, funerals,
Elegies, eulogies, dances,
Wakes, sermons, cemeteries, pyres,
And piles of possessions, flowers,
All of it, including the books
Mulling it like bitter cider,
Are signs we are slaves to lost selves,
To ancestral ghosts even more
Than to actual ancestors.
Confronting death does not help it,
Nor does mythologizing it.
Change, infinitesimal change,
Infinite, all-pervasive change
Birthed life and death as conjoined twins,
Birthed our desire to rescue them
One from the other, the other.
There's nothing to save or sever,
Nothing wisdom serves to salve well
When your death's good as another.