Homage to Alan Wheelis

Rollo May was his preceptor

who taught him Freedom, Choice

and Responsibility were three Pillars

of how to live.

Loving each day as if living was an art,

at ninety-one receptive to the long

hibernation dying to die in his sleep,

nestled in a cocoon of mohair,

hot water bottle at his feet

ready to emerge at the fork

where the body falls away.

Printed on his forehead in indelible ink:

“No DNR for me,” no perfidious snakes

invading private orifices.

As long as sagging bellows pumped air

he drifts off humming “Put your arms

around me honey, hold me tight.”

Inhaling a remembered scent of balsam pine

he cranks back a zoetrope reviewing

the exhilaration of falling in love

with his life-long mate watching

her naked Twyla Tharp dance on the shore

of Lake Sunapee.

Plunging into pristine waters of shimmering stars

she looks like a slippery mermaid

under a winking crescent moon.

A disappearing whirlpool resonates

with the stillness within.

His metamorphosis begins, leaving the ecstasy of Eros

for the midnight gloom of silence on the river Styx.