Death is always near. 

He follows closely like a friend.
He whispers in our ear –
Loud enough to ignore,
Soft enough to remember.
He hides his attributes,
Yet reveals his absence.
He promises nothing,
Gives nothing,
Takes everything.
He’s numbered our days
And hidden the sum
Between the leaves
Of our life-pages.
Regardless of what we do or say.
He lulls us into sleep
And courts us in our dreams.
He wins our hearts in slumber
Until sleep becomes our lover;
Though sleep is just short death.
Our fragile beating heart could stop
By the choice of any other.
Our breath depends upon another’s
Assessment of our worth:
To kill, to care, to leave be, to cut short…
I came across an infant possum
abandoned in the grass.
Eyes half-closed with thirst,
Lethargic from lack of food,
Lying where he fell.
In an instant, his entire world became
That small patch where he lay.
He barely stood and barred his teeth
At any living thing too close,
But couldn’t move away.
His breathing slowed and his body curled.
His tail wrapped around the air,
Never to be used at all –
Save for the little comfort found
In trying it’s intended form.
He lay there unaware
That no one would return.
That his world would not again expand,
That his hunger would only grow
And consume what time he had.
What does it matter
If we rage or we go gentle?
We go nonetheless.
Death is patient with his time
and time will wait for no one.
Death delights in suffering,
in slow waves of hope and fear;
for time is his ally,
Cruelty and Loneliness, his brothers,
Apathy, his mother.
My constant follower,
My distant, ever-present threat;
Oh that I could love the day
I finally shake Death’s hand.
Oh that I would smile in his face.
Oh that I would see
that his release is not the end.
Oh that I would know
that exile by his command
is freedom from his hand.

One thought on “The Follower

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