T.S. Eliot On His Deathbed

by Jerry Ratch

I guess at the end you're only

looking forward. Or upward actually,

since you can only lie there on your back

looking upward, straight ahead toward infinity,

your mouth in a grimace, with the ghostly

pink lips peeled back from the teeth.


And loose skin hanging in folds

at the bottom of the face, with one large ear

still listening. The stubble of beard on a bony chin

and red creases deep in the forehead.


A bony nose, and the neck too thin

to support the great weight of the head

as it continues in its effort to perceive

whatever is left to perceive.