Her teeth rattle in her skull;
she feels the rapid beating of her heart
approaches. But her life
goes on, much as before. Defiantly she weaves a flower
crown, and wears it to mask
the shuddering fear she still feels. A tragic mask
is more appropriate than comic, but either would hide her skull-
like face, drawn with dread. Her flower
crown wilts, as all things must die, as her heart
must one day stop. Her life
moves one second per second towards her death.
She remembers the death
of her mother, the Halloween mask
that had been hilarious in her mother’s life
no longer amusing now that its skull
shape reminds her that her mother’s heart
no longer beats, that she must tend the graveyard flowers.
Spring comes and with it trees in flower,
buds and birds defying death
and the warming days warming hearts.
But the liveliness only serves to mask,
as the face does the skull,
that dying is a part of life.
She doesn’t, as her life
goes on, further contemplate dying. Why should she, in the flower
of her youth, consider the disposition of her skull
upon her death?
She might prefer a masque
to a funeral, but she would have to find it in her heart
to have that discussion with those nearest to her heart
in order for her wishes in life
to be respected upon her dying: mask
the formaldehyde with lavender in flower,
celebrate her living rather than mourn her death,
let science have her skull.
And living’s not all hearts and flowers,
nor all matters of life and death,
but what good is a mask to a skull?