The Voyage Past Death

26 April 2020

By Philip Kuepper

(For Michael Meyer)

Of course, I up anchored my mind,
and set out on the sea of denial.
I vacated death’s presence.
I had for so long entertained
the fantasy Michael was the exception,
that death could never touch him.

And so when death proved
my fantasy folly,
I spurned death’s truth,
imagined Michael had simply gone
on an errand,
and would return, shortly.
I chilled his favorite wine,
cut celery stalks, and slathered them
with cream cheese.
For want of time, I would microwave
chicken fettuccini alfredo.

Ah, for want of time.
Death eats time.
Death snacks on time.
Death salts time, and swallows it whole.

Time is a cheap trick to death.
There, on the deck of the sloop of my mind,
I had arranged the wine,
the celery crudités,
the fettuccini.
Glutton death devoured the whole of the feast.

I am mid-sea,
in a starless night.
I sail alone.
Does anyone out there know
how to read the map
of darkness?

(22 April 2020: This was written two days after Michael died.)

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