Death Bed Blues

"Heaven for the climate,
Hell for the company"
-Mark Twain

Let the near silence
do its work.
It's always in the present tense.
Maybe in the swell of a heartless wind,
the whisper of nylons crossed high,
the brush of folding money
sliding into an empty pocket.
Even the final breath of the old man
alone in a riverfront hotel,
a small room
in a small town he's never seen.
Where blue light
spells HOT-L
outside the window.

He's remembering, as a kid
staying awake until 3 a.m.,
afraid he'd stop breathing.
Those nights whispered in rhythm,
in and out of rhythm.
He'd wait for the fear
to disappear.

Is this his season in Hell
or does that come next?
On his bed,
under a broken ceiling fan,
he can smile,
sometime in the
present tense,
at least good company
and a warm beer.

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