The Elusive Winter Cardinal

Death comes filtering into the fully carpeted room
Like the black-toothed hunting partner trying to stay invisible
But letting its presence be known all the while
It sneaks peeks around upholstered chairs from under couches
The old ones always seem to find it around the holidays
They are not afraid of it
Though they’d rather it waited there
Pressed against the carpet until they are ready to go
Then they can reach down and take it by the ear
They can lift it up into their wrinkled arms
The young ones rarely see it until it is too late
It sneaks up while they are busy with something else
It sneaks up into their laps and forces them to notice
Even the ones who understand it – fear it
That is because they are young
Youth has a way of confusing itself with immortality
Much the same way as it confuses itself
With its own ego
Too young for death is a naive misconception
Because there is a bullet somewhere with your name on it
You will probably never see the black-toothed hunter
Until the bullet has laid you down
Until you, too, die held in death’s embrace
For now, my friends, death will remain like that
Elusive Winter Cardinal
Even when you think you have seen it
It will be gone before you can be made sure
Leaving the stark leafless branch laughing at you
Leaving you standing there scratching your head
Before you go on your way
Looking for life but thinking about death
Looking for something but thinking about that
Elusive Winter Cardinal

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