Are we obsessed with the denial of that reality?
As a kid did you, like I, feel
you owned death, like a furry little pet
sitting on your shoulder, and any time you wanted
you could turn your head and see it, or kiss it,
or pet it, or remind yourself how close it was,
but in truth, you thought of it rarely,
more frequently of everyone else's,
because theirs seemed more imminent
even though back then you felt it
breathing on your neck in reassurance?
Or is that just me because I've seen
a lot of people pass, or die, as you might say,
from one thing or another, including my mother,
in a way that seemed unfair and certainly
unnecessary and arbitrary and cruel?
But what death isn't?
Those I remember that were no surprise,
though devastating anyway in their
Is that why now it's life I'm obsessed with?
Or is that because when I watched
the second plane crash into the second tower on TV
a thin blue tube hung from my urethra,
attached to a clear plastic bag, the remnant of a
cancer operation the week before,
unaware an old friend was on that flight,
at that moment incinerated,
a woman who was kind to me when
she didn't need to be?
How many people have died
before you got the chance to tell them what you meant to?"
(from MARCH 18, 2003)
(Berry Berenson 1948-2001)