"Dying is a lonely occupation."--Edwin Brock

Worn out bodies congregate like elephants when they

know the end is near. Old timers miss being touched

but with atrophied genitals there's no itch left to scratch.

Relating along side each other like pre-schoolers who havent

yet learned to share: Don't bother me, and I won't bother you.

All fear dying more than death, some worry about being closed

up in a box before breathing their last breath.

True believers fear punishment worse than death for sins

the Deity may not forgive.

They welcome visitors, especially kids, forever pleading:

Do you have to leave so soon? The help knocks on the door:

Lunch is ready and looks some good.

A slow motion parade of walkers and canes shuffle down the hall

to the dining room, a sea of grey. Permed ladies with gold rings

on tremulous fingers sit together as do gents with faces like cracked

parchment wearing drooping suspenders on Chaplinesque baggy pants.

They chat politely about the weather, avoid discussion of belly and bowel,

tinnitus-plagued ears miss half of what's said.

Bewildered minds cry easily, bursts of laughter a thing of the past.

A morning delivery of boxes of diapers accounts for the scent

residents no longer can sense.

I walk out the door, vow to get on with living, stop chewing my mental cud

on habitual worries over my potato-sized prostate, clogged rivulets and perennial concerns about not enough money.

I?ll confront that grim ferryman square in the face, get quiet enough to take a deep

breath, be fully present to touch and be touched by those that I love.

I'll have lots of laughs, write poem after poem, still writing, smiling ear to ear as I'm lowered down in the ground.