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Death of a Poet: poem by Bart Edelman

Photo of a room with an office chair at a wooden desk against a decorative brick wall, a potted plant, light coming in through a sliding glass door, overall color scheme of soft browns, tans, beige, and cream, image by "press👍and⭐" on Pixabay, modified.

desk and chair, image by "PrompterMalaya" on Pixabay, modified

Death of a Poet



Working at her desk,

When her heart gave out,

Just as she desired.

The medics released the pen

She clutched from her hand,

Found her slumped over

In her favorite chair—

A final poem to write.

They knew who she was;

Everyone did in the small town,

And were careful not to disturb

The set of papers before her,

Especially the current one,

Lines scrawled across a legal pad.

Preserving her respect and dignity,

They removed her, gently,

Then took her next

Where she needed to go,

Mindful of this woman of letters—

Laureate, in life and death.

Bart Edelman’s poetry collections include Crossing the Hackensack, Under Damaris’ Dress, The Alphabet of Love, The Gentle Man, The Last Mojito, The Geographer’s

Wife, Whistling to Trick the Wind, and This Body Is Never at Rest: New and Selected

Poems 1993 – 2023, forthcoming from Meadowlark Press. He has taught at Glendale

College, where he edited Eclipse, a literary journal, and, most recently, in the MFA

program at Antioch University, Los Angeles. His work has been widely anthologized

in textbooks published by City Lights Books, Etruscan Press, Fountainhead Press,

Harcourt Brace, Longman, McGraw-Hill, Prentice Hall, Simon & Schuster, Thomson/Heinle,

the University of Iowa Press, Wadsworth, and others. He lives in Pasadena, California.

March 2024 issue

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