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This Tendency to Die

Pets are prone to it. As are grandchildren.
And the little birdies and kittens
You bring in from the cold.
All you can do is rage - in impotent disbelief,
And sorrow, and anger, and desire, and hope,
And go through what they call the four
Stages of grief, but what man was so heartless
To coolly count while a woman smashed
Her bangles on her wrists, fresh-widowed?
But it’s a tendency we cannot avoid,
And while we may clamour, in foolish lust
For the hanging or shooting or electrocution
Of someone we have been taught to fear;
Our own papa or hubby or Sox or Puppy
We were never taught. Oh yes, there it is
In the Vedas and Quran and the Confucian texts
And maybe we could use it for our own time,
But for papa or hubby or Sox or Puppy
We never could learn, never could be taught.
All you get is vague notions that are inadequate,
So inadequate, to fill that rising emptiness
Called life hereafter. And yet we fill it and
‘move on’ till someone else expresses, unwantedly,
This strange tendency in us to die.

(Published in GloMag, May-June 2017)

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