BAP Quarterly
Bap q spacer Bap q spacer
< back to poems

Ways to Die

with eyes closed, finally,
& knowing it is forever—with a smile
so if anyone is there, it is what they will inherit.

if sitting up, don’t slouch—
keep shoulders back as if meditating,
eternal slumber of soul at rest.

if there must be movement,
keep it simple, but make it impressive—
reach one hand out, eyes wide, no sound, up, up, up.

death of violence? death as peace?
rush of blood, death rattle or gentle slump,
we cannot know the moment, we fall into it, it becomes us, we’re gone.

sounds of machinery: clicks of pumps & drips of fluid in tubes,
feet shuffling across cold floors, muffled prayers from gently rocking chairs,
bleeps of electronic heartbeats silenced         last gasp for breath, quiet empty space.

a cloud slowly covers the sun, midday or evening—you choose,
a breeze from the west carries honeysuckle or lilac or chrysanthemum,
no car horns or trucks backing—only the slow sound of your train coming to a gradual stop.


by Bill Patterson

Bap q logo