I chose this morning to write a poem about death
In a meeting while I was listening.
I tucked my thought into my pocket.

I drove my car in rising summer heat.
The library. The Goodwill store.
My old dry elbow cocked outside
The window in the wind,
Searching for porcelain trinkets to bestow
On women mostly young,
Some closer to my age.
It was a new habit,
Practicing kindness without lust.

I spent an old man’s bored, retired day.
I bought a near new book I didn’t need.
I didn’t buy a baseball cap.
I didn’t think of death as I tried it on.
The book was a biography.
The subject was quite dead, but happily so.
His life was filled with stress.
There had been missteps and regrets.

Returning to the place where I nightly sleep,
I idly scrolled across my Facebook page,
At “Persons I Might Know,”
And there among the unknown friends
A woman I had loved, I guess,
One summer not quite forty years ago.

My thought to crush the skull of death with words
And make the feeling visceral was gone.
It was as though my voice and strength
And limbs of youth had fled.
Her laughter at my shrunken pride
And how I had hurt her so in memory
Yet she was better off than me, no doubt,
And had survived. To stare at me.
A photo on my phone on Facebook,
Where children play and old bones go to die.
There then. It is about death.