The Death of a Poet


   I had lived 81 years, three months, 20 days, and when the morning sun peaked through the bedroom curtains, I told my wife it is time. Sadness formed on her face, but it came as no surprise. The winter had put a cold in my lungs and chill in my bones. I had lived long enough. It was time.

   My sweet wife threw open the curtains, and I pulled myself up in bed. Two pillows propped up my back as I sat upright.

   “Darling, will you bring my poems?” I said.

   She moved quickly towards the den not saying a word. I took a deep breath and found peace. Then shortly after she returned with the old briefcase, I had bought at the thrift store so many years ago. I opened it and found envelopes labeled by the decade. Inside was my life’s work.

   I poured over the hundreds of poems I had written paying attention to the nuance of each line. I made very few changes. However, I was affirmed by the themes that ran throughout the collection: love, the beauty in nature, immortality of the soul. My wife brought me earl grey tea in the afternoon and warm chicken broth in the evening.

   Then the sun set on my final day, and I shut my eyes for that long sleep. My breathing became slow, my flesh became cold, and a vision came upon me. I walked through the nature preserve with the strength of youth. It was Spring. The woods were green and lush. I followed the gravel path around the rusted water tower and up the gentle hill. The setting sun was perched at the summit of the short climb. I was overpowered by God’s love. I had lived well. My reward was near.

   Then out from the light came a small animal, and as it drew near, I recognized that it was my little poodle that had passed when I was still young. She leapt towards me, and I knelt to pet her.

   “Have you been waiting on me buddy”, I said with tears in my eyes.

   She howled like she did when I used to play the blues on the piano, and I picked her up into my arms and rubbed her belly and ears. Then after a short reunion, together we walked into the light. There we were transformed into perfection for all eternity!

Written by: Brett Wiley

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