She, 91; he, only 54,
In disproportioned death (he’s here no more).
Nor do we need demons from Hell to tell
Us this, nor did we learn it in the stocks:
That everything in going goes not well,
By seemly precedence or proper age,
But serves the flesh more than its share of shocks—
More than the thousands it is mortal heir to.
Confused that she must now turn back the page,
Tear out a son she thought that she had read,
His mother seems to say she doesn’t care to.
She seems to wish that only she were dead.
Dazed now, she sits, re-mouthing without rest,
“He had the best doctors. He had the best.”
Len Krisak is the author of several books and has been awarded the following prizes: Richard Wilbur Prize, Robert Frost Prize, Robert Penn Warren Prize, The Able Muse Poetry Book Award, and The New England Poetry Club Book Award. Len has poems in (or forthcoming in) The Antioch Review, The Sewanee Review, The Hudson Review, Raritan, The Southwest Review, and The Oxford Book of Poems on Classical Mythology—and is a four-time champion on Jeopardy!