Thanatopsis with art by Bob Stang
Since we don’t know the minute or the hour,
when should we begin our soliloquy?
It wouldn’t do to speak up too soon or,
worse, start late and run out of energy
before the coil of our wisdom finds air.
Our speech grows solemn with priority
as though this were our moment in the play.
This statement—and this—take such gravity;
but every scene and every act gives way
to the next. The waitress comes. We order
breakfast. I give my line, a throwaway:
“Eggs over medium, sourdough toast.”
Most words need no timbrous tenor. Each day
we had will have gone by unlike the next.
After the service, we’ll saying something twee.
Then it will be dinnertime. Time to rest.
Time to let the silence express it best.