It was waiting for me.

The Poetry of Walt Whitman.

Oddly enough, I had been thinking of Whitman during my distracted ramble through the bookshop, and there on a shelf lay pages of poems, as if placed just for me. A few books (only three or four) far to the left, behind a bookend, empty space between. No books at all to the right. None. Whitman alone in acres of space. Whitman alone, waiting, preparing to take foot from this cluttered collection of whispering words.

More oddly still, when I opened the pages to one I thought random, Death was waiting, much like Lois and I were waiting for Death.

Does the universe whisper? Does the universe call?

Whitman alone on an old wooden shelf.

There is no half-truth here. It would do no good, serve no purpose. It is as it happened.

One line, the first line to meet my eyes, splashes of ink on long dead trees:

“And as to you Death, and you bitter hug of mortality, it is idle to try to alarm me.”

Mere hours later, sitting with Mom, coffee in hand, steam rising gently in undisturbed air.

Read it again, please.


She leans back, settling more deeply into her chair, quiet, peaceful.

I like that. It is idle to try to alarm me.

I like it too.


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