The Last Lover

Death gets one night with every woman,

luring her into his foggy bedroom with

the most final of embraces,

kissing her body back into

the blackness between stars.


By then he’s dark with longing.

He has waited all her life, even if

Katie’s a mere sixteen and died

behind the wheel of a Mustang.

With deaths like hers, you wonder

if Death was playing fair; did

he throw that raccoon in the road

or hand her that extra beer?


And what about Amy, who drowned in the lake?

Did Death see her, skinnydipping, and

yank her ankles into the deep?


Death has always been greedy, but

who can stop him, what can they say?

Where do you think we got the

phrase drop dead gorgeous anyway?


Still, I wonder if he’s tender,

as I am with you tonight,

closing the burgundy curtains

against Death’s omniscient eyes?

Why do you think I hide you in

the movies, the theater? Because

Death sees through the eyes of insects

and few insects gather there.


Why do you think, when we’re walking

through the park on a sunny day,

I tremble at the sight of butterflies

circling your face?


Wolff Bowden, From “Heavyweight Champion of The Night”