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.