Death Has Always

Death has always eaten the same meal
At the same table, in that exclusive restaurant
Before I get there; hungry, misinformed
He has always left with the prize
Just as I was realizing: this one can change
My life, take me farther than I've ever-
But no, there walks death sedately,
A hundred paces ahead,
There goes the last chance
I never had, always too late and just far enough behind
I had to leave the womb at a trot;
Born too late, and I've been running since
There were few enough times
I even knew what I was hurrying toward
But then I glimpse him ahead of me, in his billowing cape
And that ridiculous Death's mask, cutting a sinuous swath
Out of the very center that the world wheels around:
Death always cuts his piece from the hub
And then laughs at you over his shoulder
As he leaves the party in ruins.

by Patti Masterman

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