A Worm of Robbins
Not having died yet, I can’t say
how difficult it is, or even if it is.
I’m sure it varies. Death must have
the widest repertoire of all, considering that
the universe’s sole consistency is entropy.
But this I know so far: for me, at least,
likely it’s not pain or fear or fear of pain
or life’s small cruelties or monstrous ones
that can make dying hard. They’d make it easy,
I should think: to leave, to sleep, slip free.
But suddenly in autumn, morning glories
poke soft cerulean heads above the crisp
ivy they’ve climbed to the top of my garden fence.
Here. They swivel, seeking the pale November
sun. Three mornings later, they are done.
And suddenly in winter, bent double by a freezing
rain, hurrying along Ninth Street, there: swarming
a thorntree blistered with red berries, maybe thirty
robins. That’s called a worm of robins, I discover.
Passers-by scold the soaked old woman who laughs,
leisurely taking pictures with her phone. I’ll plant
a hawthorn! she thinks-but finds they live for centuries,
needing decades to fruit. Plant then for others, I learn,
hold your own brief hour in light regard. It’s sweetness
that turns leaving sour, joy that makes dying hard.
Photo by Hannah Oliver on Unsplash