Memento Mori – a poem by Jeffrey Essmann

Memento Mori

We must have talked about an hour or so.
I hadn’t heard from him in several weeks,
And something in his voice at times would creak,
Would falter, stop, not quite sure where to go.
He talked about his body now as though
It were no longer his, a thing oblique
Determined only by its pains and bleak
Forebodings based on what the doctors know.
Then suddenly my own death hovered near
(Appalling, how it seems to lie in wait
And pounces at the faintest whiff of fear…).
My dead in memory did congregate
To point my halting soul toward that austere
Horizon I’m so loath to contemplate.

Jeffrey Essmann is an essayist and poet living in New York. His poetry has appeared in numerous magazines and literary journals, among them Dappled Things, the St. Austin ReviewAmerica MagazineU.S. CatholicPensiveGrand Little ThingsHeart of Flesh Literary Journal, and various venues of the Benedictine monastery with which he is an oblate. He is editor of the Catholic Poetry Room page on the Integrated Catholic Life website.

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