William L Roberts
When Death Stopped By - Poem by William L Roberts
When Death stopped by
I tried to apologize,
'I'm not up for entertaining -
I'm too busy dying.
Go away, I'm not at my best! '
He waved a bottle of rye.
'Come in! ' I sighed, 'Why be shy! '.
Life'd come early,
('Go away! ' I'd said then, 'I'm busy!
I don't yet know if I care for the air! '
But his prospectus looked rosy,
His agreements seemed fair,
So I'd bought in,
Oh, but the devil was in the fine print...) .
When Death arrived
They made a fine pair.
Death turned on the game.
He took out his cellphone
And called in a bet,
Then loudly second guessed:
('What shithead calls a pass
On such a short down! ')
And cursed the ref:
You f-king nearsighted clown! ')
Life looked on with a brotherly frown.
Death offered the bottle,
Life just passed it on.
When that one was killed
Death started another.
Bet lost, Death flipped the channels,
A chainsaw movie was what he found.
Later still, grown maudlin and teary,
Death sang old ballads of love stupid kids
In souped up fast cars.
Life suppressed a groan.
They didn't notice,
Being so busy with each other,
When I took the bottle and left.
Up on the hospital roof
I sat watching the night.
I looked at the bridges
I looked at the river,
I looked at the lights on the water.
I wished you'd come to my party!
I haven't seen you in years.
I remember we went drinking one night
Wound up in a bar high up a tower,
The whole city spread out before us -
Human art at its most glorious.
Right then I felt happy,
Brim full of bittersweet beauty,
So glad that you'd joined me.
When the horizon grew bright,
Only the bottle lay in sight.
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