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For the Anniversary of My Death by W.S. Merwin

Death has touched this house once more. My grandfather’s cousin, sick in the same way my lolo was sick, tried to kill himself again a few days ago. He deliberately pushed himself down a flight of stairs, breaking his bones, our hearts. We just got the phone call. He passed away in his sleep at the hospital, free from this world finally.

Oh, but to have such days repeated. This man, who was so much like my lolo. I’m scared of what this means for all of us. I’m scared to see my father cry again. Two years after having someone you know die: I’m scared of going through that again.

For the Anniversary of My Death
W.S. Merwin

Every year without knowing it I have passed the day
When the last fires will wave to me
And the silence will set out
Tireless traveler
Like the beam of a lightless star

Then I will no longer
Find myself in life as in a strange garment
Surprised at the earth
And the love of one woman
And the shamelessness of men
As today writing after three days of rain
Hearing the wren sing and the falling cease
And bowing not knowing to what

From Naked Poetry: Recent American Poetry in Open Forms, edited by Stephen Berg and Robert Mezey, published by The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., 1969.

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