Why is Death So Terrifying Yet Liberating?

Author | Ace Boggess

[question asked by Tabitha Stapleton-Napier]

We act as though our deaths
will fall like a lightning-shattered tree
crushing us through the ceiling while we sleep.
We prepare for it, fight it, run away
from what Sartre thought of as nausea
at nothingness to follow; to a Christian,
some vague heaven; a Buddhist’s
finite recycling. We spend our lives
avoiding. Yet a cancer kid at twelve
experiences more than we at forty,
waiting out the bad news on TV.
She knows, like Sartre, closing silence
makes the symphony as much as any
trilled note, heartbeat of percussion,
spotlighted soloist stroking her Stradivarius
as a mute tear dangles like a boulder
on the upper ridge of her delicate cheek.

About the Author | Ace Boggess is the author of two books of poetry: The Prisoners (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2014) and The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled (Highwire Press, 2003). Forthcoming are his novel, A Song Without a Melody (Hyperborea Publishing), and a third poetry collection, Ultra-Deep Field (Brick Road). His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, RATTLE, River Styx, North Dakota Quarterly and many other journals. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.