Self Epitaph

Beneath the moist dirt of the newly filled grave
My casket rests,
The finest linens that insurance money can buy
Line my metallic tomb.

Against my wishes, they dressed me
In a suit or tuxedo, all so costly.
Sensibly, it will rot, decay,
Like my health decayed.

I was defeated through genetics,
Acquiring the good — the bad,
But mostly the bad.

Legg Calvay Pertheses crippled my leg,
Hypertension strained my heart,
Alcoholic rage boiled in my veins,
My back swelled,
Bursitis flared.
Each move I made reminded me.

While my body decayed,
I forced myself to sharpen my mind.
In death, it will be all I have to keep me
Company with the worms.

Maybe I could have prolonged the heart-attack,
I stopped using salt, and
I quit drinking beer and tequila (the worm was the best),
But I died.
At the age of twenty seven,
I died.

Damn you, body, for betraying me,
For killing me with your insatiable appetites,
For making me blind to the dangers,
Forcing me to the earth.

I want to wake up, it was only a scratch.
But I’m paralyzed, trapped
In a jacket so stiff, I can’t breathe.
Trapped in a box, I can’t see.
I don’t want to see.
I’m dead.

Here lies a common man consumed by the earth.

© 1993 David Carroll. All rights reserved.