Mary Oliver Wants to Die When it's Raining
by Lenora Rain-Lee Good

Mary Oliver wants to die
when it's raining—a long, slow rain,
a kind that may never end,
like I used to imagine
on Venus, until science
dissolved that dream in a
cloud of sulfuric acid.

I think I want to die
in the Spring, when
the sun is light and warm,
when the birds are loud
and raucous, when the trees
outside my window
burst with new life
as mine fades.

Unless I die in Summer
when starving baby birds screech,
when gossipy mosquitoes annoy
with their whiny high-pitched stories,
when children run, shriek
with laughter, through
sprinklers outside my window,
when night comes soft as my
lover's caress.

Perhaps I want to die in Autumn,
watching the trees outside my
window go from green to gold
to red to bare, hear footsteps crunch
dry leaves randomly scattered on the ground,
when stars are so bright
sleep is hard to come by.

No. Wait. I think I want to die
in Winter. Quiet Winter—sparkling
white with snow. Short days, long
nights, naked trees outside
my window with
playful squirrels searching
the diamonds of sun on
snow for seeds, and finding only
tangible cold. Quiet. Winter.
I'll slip away, be gone
before anyone sees, ride
the back of Brother Owl
into the cold and sparkling night.

I don't suppose
it matters. I will die when
Death calls for me and
not a day sooner. His
timing will be perfect—as long
as it's next season.

(After "Marengo" by Mary Oliver)  

Return to:

[New] [Archives] [Join] [Contact Us] [Poetry in Motion] [Store] [Staff] [Guidelines]