Live Death

I’ve seen the bodies of our dead,
But haven’t seen them as they die.
I’ve seen before-and-after states,
But never during, never live.

I wonder how they leave their lives.
I can’t forget a single time
I’ve seen a goat or chicken cut:
They always writhed in blood and slime.

I’ve seen the crabs in boiling pots.
They start to climb but lose their steam.
Their spirits rising, full of scent,
Disperse as unremembered dreams.

I’ve seen a rat under a bowl
Of crystal-clear plexiglass
Eat up its tail when desperate
To live its way through poison gas.

I’ve seen a bee without its sting.
I’ve seen a puppy’s highway crash.
I’ve seen a pigeon in a well.
But haven’t seen a human pass.

Is that why Death is so obscure?
A foggy concept in my mind?
A thing that comes to movie stars,
Dramatic front with gore behind?

Perhaps the doctors shouldn’t hide
The dying in their curtained spreads.
Perhaps they should record the deaths
As done by some on birthing beds.

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