To D.B.T. March 3rd 1957 – August 21st 2021


We cannot Stop Death


We cannot startle Death.

Shake up Death

Cause Death to lose his spectral footing.

No, we cannot do this by talking to Death sweetly,

By gently imploring, 


O death 

O death, 

Please go away. 

Come back another day.

This is not how it works in this world

Where everything must end,

Where everyone, must one day, die.

I know this now.


O Death,

I had so much to live for

In this one precious one life we are each given,

And I WAS living 

Living to the fullest – 

I had my friends 

I had my work 

I had my dog 

I had my daughter,

My home 

My family,

A new love,

You know I had my paddling, my painting, 

My bicycle,


All the women,

As Alix Dobkin sang,

The women in my life.

And I was still young,

Relatively speaking,

Even though the older we get the younger it all seems. 

I had a litany of reasons to remain.

I had so many plans.

I was holding on for dear life

Dear life

Deer life

Life as swift as the doe, my greyhound, Tansy, looked so much like. 




My litanies

Have become a progression

Here today,

Of women 

Remembering me,

Re-membering me

As you toss stones, into the river,

Underneath and behind us all

Flows this river

We must all one day join.

The river of life.

Below the trees.

Trees of life. 

Yes, you have buried me, 

Next to my mother,

Who I loved so,

On Long Island,

In the deep dark cold soil,

In a pine coffin, with holes in the bottom,

A rabbi reciting above my stilled body

My brother telling the world what I meant to him (everything)

My beautiful daughter, having lost me,

My father, how did he get so old?

Held up by his two remaining children 

And their children

Struggling to comprehend,

“First my wife”, he said, “a year ago, now my daughter”.

But I’m not there in the ground,

My flesh rotting off my bones,

I’ve flown

Flown away,



And flying, 

Finally, resting now 

On the wings of love.

Once it was over, I knew I must fly,

Fly fly away,

And so I did,

I flew alone until,

Like a hummingbird on the wings of a goose in autumn flying south,

I snuggled in.

I’ve stopped fighting,

I’m resting on the winds of destiny

On the wings of

My love, your love, our love.

And I’m singing back to you all 

All of you singing to me,



©  Susan Lynn Gesmer, October 2021

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