FOR EVA MIODOVNIK OPPENHEIM (1931-2014)
—Not just any death
As I have lost the previous generation, one after another,
I cried, “I do not want to be one of the elephants
left in charge of memory and the family stories,
who receives all the confidences.” And now I am
one of the few left of my own generation.
All around us the feeling of life slipping away.
So much loss suffered. Wanting to hold onto
every minute, to stop complaining, reassure
all those we love. It can all disappear
in the blink of an eye.
I stroke the dog, she wags her tail. The cat
lashes hers. I too would love to experience
the innocence our pets have
rather than this death-
obsessed human mind.
I think I had that innocence and sense
of certainty long ago, when people
still kept being born
into my life, instead
of leaving it.
- Ted Bookey 2016
Ted Bookey’s Collected Poems With a W/hole in One, 1970-2010 was published in 2010 by Moon Pie Press. Originally from New York City, he now lives in Maine, where he teaches both poetry and humor in the Senior College program at the University of Maine at Augusta. He is the author of four books of poems, translations with his wife Ruth of the poems of Erich Kastner, and several plays that have been produced in Maine and off-off Broadway.