18 June 2009

Living Next Door to Death

It’s not so bad
living next door to death.
I can stand on my tiptoes to
peek over the fence
and look at the piles of bones
in death’s backyard.
I can fall asleep to
the moans and feral whispers of
the guests at the party next door.

when the mailman gets mixed-up,
I’ll knock on death’s door with
a handful of misdelivered envelopes and,
even though no one ever answers and
I have to just slip the envelopes into the
already crammed-full box,
I’ll feel brave and tall walking back to my house.

One year at Christmas time,
I left a plate of sugar cookies
on death’s doorstep.
They were the kind you cut from a roll and
decorate with sprinkles and
those little silver sugar balls.
I never got my plate back, though,
so it was a good thing I didn’t use a
good one.

When my friends come over,
I tell them who lives next door and
they say, “Bullshit,” so
I say, “Don’t believe me? Check it out yourself.”
Sometimes, they don’t come back, so
it’s a good thing my friends aren’t very
good ones.

Anyway, it’s nice on summer nights to
sit on my porch drinking a beer or two and
listen to death saw away on his violin.
The crickets chime a chorus and
some whippoorwills make their spooky calls and
the moon hangs fragmented in the cottonwood branches and
the night just goes easy like that,
me drinking beer on the porch and
death playing some nameless tune,
at least one I never recognize, and
I’m pretty sure death just makes it up as he goes along.

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