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Death Has No Voice


Your mother's voice, cold as a telegram:

"She died last night. Your name was in her book."

I couldn't speak, remembering your breath

Warming my neck, and my confused hand shook

The phone as you became a memory.

I heard a sob, a silence, then a man

Who said hello, thanked me for knowing you,

Said your weak lungs defied the treatment plan,

And that the doctors warned them years ago

Your breath was limited. They'd call me back,

Of course, about the service. A dial tone,

And I lay still as a suit in plastic, black,

Dropped on a light bedspread. Not you, Diane,

Death's enemy who smiled at the unknown;

How could your breath just stop? No answer came.

Death has no voice. Cold, I hung up the phone.


Jeff Holt