Once a week it seems
I drive past St. Peter’s Church
and catch a parking lot full of cars.
No, not for the church but a funeral.
And each time I’m reminded of my age
and that this is how it will be.
I try to tell myself, I am ready
as I dart past the crowded lot.
Only lately a suited man
stands out on the street
offering purple death flags
to all who must pass.
I swerve to avoid him, only
this time he stares right at my face
and I gush a breath then thrust
my middle finger up and curse,
“Get back, you prick, Mr. Death!”
At the corner I’m stunned at myself
and know I’ve miles to go before I sleep.
Larry Smith is a poet, fiction writer and biographer of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Kenneth Patchen. His most recent work is Thoreau’s Lost Journal: Poems and Tu Fu Comes to America. He is a professor emeritus of Bowling Green State University in Ohio and director of Bottom Dog Press. He and his wife live along the shores of Lake Erie in Ohio.