Thanatos

Gershon Maller

Perhaps if animals are things
where greyhounds at the end of the run
injected with bleach are thrown in a pit
or polar bears withered to bone stagger 
on broken ice in magnificent agony 
we are not surprised that thoughts
of death crawl into waking sleep
with briefcase, party streamers,
red balloons and syringe
as we watch a planet watch itself die

I can't imagine how my loved ones 
would gather reassuring smiles
to say good night, adieu;
perhaps call an Uber service 
end-to-end from jab to urn
complete with shrieking mourners
humour, like entropy, never sleeps  

but what kind of grave am I
for one whose weathered limbs
takes solace in fragrant air 

I am an ageing twisted tree
turning toward warmest sun 
flaying in southeast breeze 



Gershon Maller is author of Night Breathing (Metro Arts Press)and Nights in the Gardens of Spain (Post Pressed). In 2003 he received a major grant from Arts Queensland for a multimedia collection of still-life poems subsequently performed at the Brisbane Writers Festival. His poetry appears in Going Down Swinging, Meanjin, Overland, Poetry Australia, StylusLit, Unusual Works, TEXT, The Australian Jewish News, The Sydney Morning Herald (AU); and The Muse Apprentice Guild and The Wallace Stevens Journal (US).

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