“Emily Dickinson’s Car Accident Report,” by Ken Macklin

Dec 20th, 2019 | By | Category: Poetry

Because I could not stop for Death—
My Honda hit a tree
The state police looked at my car—
And Death began to flee

We drove his hearse at a great speed
They followed in his wake—
Then suddenly I realized
His license plate was fake!

We passed a mall
Where people shopped
Astounded at the sight—
Of two dead old pedestrians
Death said it was his right

“Their time was up”
He shouted out, “I would have killed them—
In their sleep
It was on my schedule anyway
For Saturday—
Next week”

They took Death into custody
And locked him in a cell
He really freaked his cell mate out
Bothered by his smell

“You smell like Death,” he told him
Death smiled at him and said
“For that I’ll take you earlier”
And in a second—
He was dead

In summing up I warn you all
If you see Death on the road
Avoid him at your peril
Especially if
You’re old


Ken Macklin earned a degree in East Asian Studies from Binghamton University. He did graduate work towards a master’s degree at U.C. Berkeley in Chinese Studies, only to drop out after getting sick of eating too much top ramen and being poor. He recently retired as a software developer and has burned all his programming books in a bonfire. He studied with the poet Louise Gluck at Goddard College in the early 1970s, and he is an amateur music composer.

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