I woke up the day before my sixtieth birthday thinking about death–nothing particular about that–it probably happens about twice a week.
We were at Pagosa Springs and went for an incredible soak–the pools were deserted. I sat under a folded blue umbrella, and wrote:
I packed for my death as for a day at the beach
towel, hat, apple, book
it has become easier to travel lightly
like a child who runs away
eats a peanut butter and jelly sandwich
and returns, having seen
a creek for the first time
without anyone’s mother
life, you’ve burdened me
and in return
I’m sure I’ve gotten on your nerves as well
now you’ll have to get along without me
as you’ve done so nicely eon after eon
I’m going to meet what once was my death
at a fern bar on upper Polk Street
and after a few drinks
see if you will have me back
after all, you loved me once–
I have the scar to prove it.
But I needed a title. Tried something pretentious and derivative, like “I Am The Death of Orpheus.” Nix.
Suddenly my husband Rich came around the corner and flirtatiously asked, “waiting for someone?’ I sort of shrieked, “no! no!” and had to read him the poem.
Which is now titled: “Waiting for Someone?”