My friend and I have a little game we play
Over coffee and chai:
It involves sitting at the local café
And guessing everyone’s demise.
He is a Pathologist,
And I—well, does it matter?;
No doubt you have spied us somewhere—
Impolitely hiding our laughter.
Who will yield first to the Reaper?
How about the old guy, the nanny,
or the priest?
We take turns judging folks—
The waif, the idiot, perhaps the grossly obese?
And how will they succumb,
These random bits of DNA?
Heart attack, stroke, suicide bomb?
One can never be certain
These ever-shortening days…
It’s a fun game, to be sure,
And I try never to miss it;
The more we play,
the stronger the allure:
Now I dare not dismiss it.
Smug in repose,
As we empty our cups,
Does he ever ponder,
I sometimes muse,
How I might wind up?
He seems to sense this,
Evinced by a Cheshire Cat smile:
One cannot help, I suppose,
wanting to go out in style…
But as we bid adieu and finally depart,
Embraced by the clutch of eve’s frozen ire,
Each of us is sure of the other’s prospects
In his own murky heart;
Know this: I’ll never talk;
He doesn’t offer to tell me—
and I never inquire…