Reflections upon death

Is that really my face, framed
by white hair like a cabin
standing alone in the too-early
winter snow, lazily gazing
back at me in the old mirror?
My grandmother’s old mirror, lined
with old photos of people now dead,
frozen in black and white eternity
where they face no end nor
remember any beginning.

Pictures remain, moments,
faces without context, smiling forever
in the face of fewer people
remembering them,
a majority of their moments forgotten
hours at a time. Every minute spent alone
was one
that dissolved into nothing.
No one shares, no one reflects.
They may as well never happen
for all the universe
cares.

———

We do death all wrong. Tombstones
list our birth and death dates, ignoring
what’s in the – , distilling a life –
vaporizing
all those moments before condensing
existence into a name and two dates.

Obituaries summarize
a life
in a few sentences – the view
from 50,000 feet where angels
are introduced to the new meet –
before painstakingly listing all those left
behind. We choose to focus
on the living
while burying the lede. The living find time
to move on.

———

When I die, god forbid, I want them to show
pictures of me in my youth. Not some wrinkled, 
white-haired, bloated version I will
have grown to be (god willing) even if I myself have long
forgotten what it was to be young,
vibrant, alive. Iron out the creases and
gloss over the pot marks
of a life, if not well-lived, at least survived.

Is this now? And if we get an afterwards
what words will follow after? If time is not a
straight line
have we already seen what follows and
does it match what came before? In the
end does it matter if I won’t notice?

Will others?

And do I think too much of death?
Do I waste much time
on that which comes to each
in time
though I rush not into
that particular adventure?

And is it ironic that the less time we have
the more we waste thinking
about something we can’t do
anything about. Is that irony?
It’s something I won’t waste time

thinking about.

———

This mirror, my grandmother’s old mirror,
awaits one more picture,
another face,
wherever it now goes, whenever we choose,
and I, red eyes puffy and moist,
think that I have one less Christmas
present to buy.


Phillip Knight Scott | © 2019

My name is Phillip. I live in North Carolina with my wife of 11 years and 3-year-old son, and at least for the next year, I’m on the right side of 40. (Both the interstate and existence, in years). I am a Tar Heel born and bred, and watch every Yankees game I can. My goal is to visit all 30 MLB stadiums in the next 10 years. I’ve been to 5 so far! Obviously I enjoy writing, but I also enjoy watching and reading sci-fi. I’m slowly attempting to finish my first novel, a “humorous” sci-fi romp which may be finished one day. I am a Doctor Who obsessive and choose Star Trek over Star Wars.

11 thoughts on “Reflections upon death

  1. This is an amazing poem, of life and death, memory and reflection. Seeing your face in your grandmother’s mirror reminds me of a day in my 50’s when suddenly, in the mirror, I saw my grandmother’s facesuper-imposed on mine and realized how much I look like her……..I can picture your grandmother’s mirror, lined with those old photos. This was a wonderful read!

    Liked by 1 person

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