Death (Poem 540 words)

What if death hung below you?

Like a shadow in waiting,

Following you.

A visible darkness,

Creeping under your feet.


What would you do in the face of death?

Greeting you in the morning,

Its reflection in the mirror.

It smiling grimly back at you,

With its skeleton fingers,

Waving to you,

Bidding you farewell for the day.


What would you say to death?

If you were meeting it for coffee first.


What questions would you ask?

Was I a good person?

Was my life felt by anyone else?

Did I matter?


What would Death ask you?

Did you enjoy the ride?

What are you afraid of?

Anything you’d like to leave behind?


If Death said,

“I’ll meet you in a year”,

How would you spend your time?


And if Death said,

“I’ll meet you in 30 minutes”,

What would be left to do?


Would you enjoy a last glass of scotch?

Sink within yourself,

And wait?

Would you seek a warm embrace?


What runs through your mind,

In those final moments.


Is my family going to be okay without me?

Did I leave things in order?

Do those things still matter?


What does matter?

What people think of you?

What you think of yourself?



What if Death makes you a deal.

You can relive any moment of your life,

Before it takes you.


Maybe the day your child was born.

Or one of the days he held onto you,

Seeking comfort,

Fading to sleep.


Maybe the day you fell in love,

The sunlight shining through,

Skipping work,

Staying in bed.


How many special moments from your life can you recall,

In the face of death?

Can anyone identify drops of water,

In a moving river?


What makes a life happy?

Is it freedom?

Is it accomplishment,

Or possession?


What is it that fulfills?

Can it be darkness?

Or must it be light?

For balance,

Don’t you need both?


“What will you leave behind?”

Death asks.

“My children,” I say.


“And what will happen to them?”,

Death inquires.

“I don’t know,”

I respond.


And what emotion will grip you then?

Do you give in?

Do you feel anger or regret?

Do you feel happy,

And content?


Did you have music,

Yet to play?

Songs left to hear?


Is your soul left,

Half empty,

Or half full?


If Death were to grip you,

By the throat,

Lifting you up,

Feet above the ground,

Would you struggle?

Would you fight?

Would you give death,

Your fear?

Your tears?


In the end,

All you’re left with,

In those final seconds,

That last moment,

With breath escaping,

Is sentiment.


When memories deform,

When the best days pass,

Or lie ahead,

All that really is,

And all that you can strive for,

Is a better feeling,

One that lasts.


And so is that the answer?

To the question,

The one that gets asked every day,

Embedded in our greetings,

How are you today?


I’m great.

Thanks for asking.


In the end,

As you lay with death,

And you dim the light,

Your sight fades.

The noises silence.

There’s nothing to taste,

Nothing to smell,

Nothing to touch.


All that remains,

Is what you are in that final moment,

Before the void.

Can you feel it?

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