On Death and Dying

On Death and Dying

            -after title of book by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross


Ants attacked our kitchen

last week, it’s the heat wave

that drives them


inside. They risk everything

for the promise of a mere

drop of water


in the sink, or what we call crumbs

on the counter. The smell

of sustenance traveling out


like a siren, through floorboards,

windows, the new doors even.

The myriad ways into a home


cannot keep out

something so small. They don’t know

how I fear their approach,


lie awake ready for morning

war moves. They can’t imagine

how little


I value them. The pests

walk into the trap of me, marching

to their own drumbeat, oblivious


as we are, unaware when the hand

will come down on backs,

hearts, breath. I watched


a memorial of a friend

last night, now we can see

these things on video,


my mother would think

that undignified, yet I would

have cherished it for hers.


I couldn’t be there then, my tiny

daughter in my arms miles away.

Do we always glorify


the dead? Is this a good reason

to die, to redeem ourselves?

The grieving widow recounting


how well David loved her shamed

me for the chances I have missed

to love better. But in death,


maybe they would say

otherwise of me. So would I rather

be here trying harder or dying


with a legacy all sewn up?

Maybe it’s our residue

that inspires others, like how I am


freshly awakened because

of him. Is that a good reason to die?

To serve others. Or when given a choice


would we all just desperately seek

any way in to get what we need

to live another day?


What are you looking for?