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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.


Photo by Henry Brown

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