A depiction of a death

So that insurance might be sold

That’s all right: I appreciate


Investment in exigency

But in the advertisement,

A door is shut with the grey world outside

The small things of home within

As if the employment of the product will

Close off death itself

For a time, at least

What are we protecting, then?

I hope it’s home

And not mortality


We can’t keep it out

It dwells inside

In every room


I don’t recommend the dance of death

A final scene of The Seventh Seal

We don’t have to step out with it

Or nurture it within

But it is reality

(you know)

And isn’t it a wonder

That, if we relent a little,

Death will not have to break through the door

Or turn over everything that’s good



It will happen nonetheless

And regardless

Our rituals might help

And family life

Give it some time, if there’s time

Comfort each other

Talk about good times

But not cowering on the other sides of walls

Walls at best

Are not for that


Not for shouting down an enemy

On the other side

Do good fences make good neighbors?

When privacy is called for, without doubt

But not for death

Death is not unusual

It does not have to separate

It can bring us over barriers

Home in better ways


C L Couch



Paul VanDerWerf

Stone Fence

Taken in Harpswell, Maine.