At a Deathbed
By Randel McCraw Helms - Fountain Hills, Arizona, USA - 2 September 2014
I told my mother not to die, but she
Was too busy to hear, intent upon
An industry none living can endure.
Dying is a grunting shove; I know,
I have watched it with tears,
The button too much for the buttonhole,
The stickleback for the heron-throat,
The braincase for the birth canal.
Down that barbed and darkened chute all
Will go at last toward the light; and, like
The kicking gnu braced on a mudbank
In the toothed vise of the crocodile.
Our slow, sweated drag to the death-rattle
Will stretch hours, gasping days, years.