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(21 October 1947 - 20 March 2010 / Albany, Texas)

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We smile at each other
and I lean back against the wicker couch.
How does it feel to be dead? I say.
You touch my knees with your blue fingers.
And when you open your mouth,
a ball of yellow light falls to the floor
and burns a hole through it.
Don't tell me, I say. I don't want to hear.
Did you ever, you start,
wear a certain kind of dress
and just by accident,
so inconsequential you barely notice it,
your fingers graze that dress
and you hear the sound of a knife cutting paper,
you see it too
and you realize how that image
is simply the extension of another image,
that your own life
is a chain of words
that one day will snap.
Words, you say, young girls in a circle, holding hands,
and beginning to rise heavenward
in their confirmation dresses,
like white helium balloons,
the wreathes of flowers on their heads spinning,
and above all that,
that's where I'm floating,
and that's what it's like
only ten times clearer,
ten times more horrible.
Could anyone alive survive it?

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003
Edited: Friday, June 15, 2012


Read poems about / on: smile, light, rose, flower, girl

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Comments about this poem (Riot Act, April 29, 1992 by Ai Ogawa )

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  • Leslie Philibert (6/17/2013 5:14:00 AM)

    reminds me of the confessional style of Olds and Plath - excellent

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Pranab K Chakraborty (6/17/2012 2:23:00 AM)

    and that's what it's like
    only ten times clearer,
    ten times more horrible............

    Well played harmony between life and death.

  • Anabel just Anabel (2/1/2007 11:29:00 AM)

    wow pretty cool! !
    sure when we think about death we get a chill but is not so bad...

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