The poet, despite his age,
and the fact that he told me one brunch
while talking work & life
that he's Getting Old,
doesn't like to show such cautions in his words.
Instead, he holds on to his
commitments, has barely spoken of death
since I've known enough to read him.
Death is the gathering of leaves
and their burning, -- supposedly to clear the yard
but really it's a terrible stench
and sticks to our autumn coat
and even the pockets will stay smoky
until it's finally, finally washed.
Why not speak of it, though,
I wondered slightly, though the poet
is resolute because he holds words highly
and ideals and philosophy,
which I admire, though
I cannot walk that way, I'd rather
wear the skeleton costume
that hangs next to my polaroids
of friends and Massachusetts.
Who imagines death but the living
and finds it anywhere
like wool sweaters in winter
unless we wear them for reasons
other than keeping out the cold.