We Speak Too Much of Death

Betsy Holleman Burke

outdoor dinner parties, Zoom canasta,

drink at a bar. We savor a gimlet,

bring up this dark thing made casual,

 

conversational by so much of it,

too much. We begin: have you heard?

A recital of names, causes. Danger

 

lurks in the loo at night, caregiver’s cough,

travel on a crowded plane, careless friend.

Names include age. Always age. We parse

 

how long we have left. Perhaps parental

clues suffice. Finite. Ten or twenty years?

But we must have our minds. We laugh and laugh.

 

Lives compress into obituaries,

a dancer, drummer, old beau, housekeeper,

all together at the termination.

SunsetSantaBarbara

Photo by Henry Brown