End Noise

Part 1

 Old folks die noisy deaths.
   This is not the received wisdom of youth
  	who firmly believe in the
  	silent slide to oblivion
 "He just closed his eyes,
  	and was gone!"
  	she gushed with a smile,
  As though describing a child's first steps.

 The truth is

 Great-aunts drop casseroles onto
   	hard kitchen floors,
  	as their chests burst,
  Widowers knock over tables
  	lurching from bed
  	clutching their throats,
  A farmer scolds his dog,
  	-- gone 40 years --
  	for chasing sheep,
  And the mother rips
  	tubes from her arms,
  	cursing the nurse
  		for poisoning her.

Part 2

 The dying man
  	hears the loudest noise.

 He carries from birth a
  	metal bowl into which drop
  	steel balls, at odd moments,
  		unexpectedly.

 He walks alone down a long
  	crystal arcade, lined
 	with glass cabinets.

 The bowl becomes heavy
  	and he grows frail.

 He pitches forward and the perfectly elastic
  	spheres bounce everywhere,
   	a cacophany of clack-clack-clack
  		and breaking glass.

  He lies, clinging to the sounds,
  	life oozing from his mouth
  	with each moan,
  Not fully gone
 	until silence follows
  	the last tap.

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