A Journal of Formal & Metrical Verse

First Death

You join, design a lifelike avatar,
complete a form that tells them who you are,
then input from your buddy list. You wait.
They never drop a hint about your fate,
so you must monitor your cyberclone,
which checks out websites, gossips on the phone,
and looks for singles in the neighborhood;
it’s programmed to behave the way you would.
Weeks—maybe years—may pass, then some physician
calmly diagnoses your condition,
or accountants cream your minivan,
or you are gunned down by an unknown man.
It doesn’t matter. Friends are notified
that it is time to hustle to your side.
Some visit; others just refuse to go
without clear reasons why. You never know.
You write a will and pick a charity,
then see mistakes with blinding clarity.
You’re told heroic measures are in vain
as vital signs decay. You pray the pain
will go away, although it never will.
Your cyberimage shudders, then goes still.
For the obituary, they create
a Wiki. Enemies manipulate
the text, but no one cares that it’s untrue.
There is no password, nothing you can do.
Decomposition? Usually dull.
Suits fray and features shrivel on the skull.
They have a coffin light you can adjust.
Wait long enough, bones crumble into dust

A.M. Juster, Featured Poet