Poetry Month 2023 Post #12: “Today Will be the Day That I Die”

April is #NationalPoetryMonth and I am posting a Poem-A-Day. I wrote this poem about a big dream this past summer.

Today Will Be the Day That I Die

“Today will be the day that I die.”
I say to myself as my dream ends
And I wake up
foggy, startled awake
By this strange pronouncement.

My mind immediately sorts, parses it out.
Is this how it works for people?
Do they know their day of death?
Do they write it off as a thought
not worth tending?

This can’t be the day I die,
I tell myself. I am healthy.
I am not in danger.
I am not going on a plane
or even in a car going any distance.

But death can still come.
Like a chance encounter.
Like an animal darting into the road.
Nothing expected, but still utterly ordinary.
A car accident on Highway 74.
A random shooting at a business.
An act of violence by a neighbor with guns.
A heart attack. A stroke.
An accident at home.
A nap that goes deeper than sleep.
And I never wake up.

I can’t discount the possibility
that this could be the day.
What if it is? What would I do?
If death announces itself this
way, we never know because
no one lives to tell about it.

So first off, I will pay attention.
Write it down. Wonder about it.
Consider the possibility.
Record for posterity.
Live fully.
Pay attention

I imagine my day could go a few ways.
Trying to avoid death is one.
Embracing a day of life is another.
Neither will necessarily change the course.
But I know I want to savor
and not cower.
Bravery more
beautiful than hiding away
from what life is–magnificent,
mundane, meandering, and

Maybe today I
will celebrate every moment
the way a last, first day should

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