Poem: Skulls on the Table

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Skulls on the Table

There are skulls on the table. A dozen of them,
maybe more.

Dry and dull, their blank eyes staring into space,
party favors for a macabre sort of party.

You have an urge to pick one up,
to play Shakespeare for a moment,

to quote canonical secular scripture,
memories from your school days.

Instead, you circle the table, wondering,
which cranium reminds you most of your own,

imagining yourself in a hundred years,
all dry bones and vague memories

with nothing more of you left than a few volumes
of love poems and rants, left in drawers and bookshelves.

You smile at the thought. Many leave behind less.
It is enough.

You walk away. Your reverie done. You are alive.
Here. Now. You can smell the lilacs outside the window.
You can feel your love’s small hand in yours.
You can see the light in the garden and it is beautiful.

You can laugh at death now.
You can laugh at it when you are gone.

Either way, either time,
it has no power over you.
There is dancing to be done,
wine to be sipped,
mornings to greet,
books to read and cats to pet.
children of all ages to love
as you leave your age behind you
and become a child with them.

About this poem

My love and I were visiting Wilson Castle in Proctor, VT when we came on the table in the photograph. They were preparing for a Game of Thrones party. I knew there was a poem in it as I snapped the picture, and finally, today, months later, it came to me.

So no, I am not in a macabre mood. Far from it.


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