Today's poem is by Catherine Pierce

"This is Funny"
          —last words of Doc Holliday

Not the whiskey, though that, too,
had its moments. Not the end

of the delirium, not the late afternoon
light languishing across the bed

red as cactus flowers. Not the way
he both recognized and didn't

each face around him. And not
this movement toward sleep,

this motion he could not stop
even if he tried, pulling him

like a riptide toward the shuttering.
What he saw was a black-eyed,

whore-fat bird, landing on the sill
with half a worm in its hooked beak.

The bit of worm flopped like a fish
and he thought That worm half is half

alive. The whiskey warmed him,
the light bloomed, the faces

went quiet, and he died laughing,
watching the bird swallow

his life, pieced and thrashing.

Copyright © 2007 Catherine Pierce All rights reserved
from Famous Last Words
Saturnalia Books
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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