It was always there in me, this thought of dying young.
The tales of talented youth dying much before
They found no use for their eager dreams,
Kindled a desire of blazing out like a forest fire.
The ones who had done so were many to count:
Long before they reached the age of thirty-three,
Jesus, Shelley, Keats and my own writerly father
Who left so many manuscripts and diaries.
Now, in my thirties, I wonder what made them tick,
What went in their bodies or minds to make them sick
And no longer afraid of lightning or busy roads,
Fresh cylinders or changing a light bulb all myself.
Sometimes I think I might die of laughter or heart-attack
From reading twisted truths on my students’ answer sheets.