Death Came to the Door and Left a Box

We talk of death
like some excitable gift
with a Do Not Open Till Kingdom Come
sticker on its wrapper.
Some shadow
left it for us to examine;
we were not told to open it,
we were told only
that it was for us and to cherish it.

We placed it on the table like a conversation piece—
it was Blake’s toy
and Plath gobbled it up.

I ran with it once
under stars that
flickered like heartbeats.

We found it under every pillow,
behind every door.
One October I opened it
thinking of my birthday,
and found only the message:
LIVE.

Published in California Quarterly, June 2001

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~ by danielwrasmus on April 24, 2010.

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