After ten long years of brooding cogitation,
You hatched what you believed to be a foolproof scheme
By which to make yourself anonymous, a nonentity, invisible,
And thereby avoid the assumed inevitability of dying,
Descending into that corporeal void
From which no ghostly spirit ever returns as matter.
To be sure, your plan included a lot of maneuvers.
You refused to answer phone queries, return questionnaires,
From classmates, regarding your fiftieth high-school reunion.
By not showing up for the three-day celebration, in late April,
You'd be saying not merely that you were unavailable
But that you'd never been a member of the Class of '59;
At least, that was your rationale, justification, thinking.
When the event arrived, you were at the Gritti Palace, in Venice,
Lost amidst the flocks of tourists, gondoliers, and pigeons.
And as your birthday approached, a month later,
You were on a "Castles in the Air" cruise up the Rhine.
The surprise party your wife threw backfired; the surprise was on her,
Which was fine, since you hated your subdivision neighbors
(All they did, anyway, was milk your larder and bar dry).
Best, by not attending, you denied aging its rightful claim on you.
In September, when you suffered severe chest pains
Any ER intern could have readily mitigated with nitroglycerin,
You eschewed all care. Indeed, you hung out in the bowling alley,
Rolled your highest three-game score in two decades,
Proving yourself immune to your body's exhortations,
Asserting your independence of consequences from mortal forces.
Once you'd taken all these initial steps in your progression,
You felt prepared for the final test: the beckoning.
And success was yours. When death came, you weren't there.
How you managed to keep yourself out of the obituaries
Remains a mystery, to all those who attended your wake, funeral.
Who that was in your empty casket is a more perplexing question.
04/14/09 - (1)