When Ann called to assure friends that
you had had a good death,
that you were you until the end:
clear-headed, talkative, even humorous,
I hadn't a nano- of doubt.
Even though our e-friendship
had a shaky start: you insisting on
quotes around Hope in a Dickinson line
I had used in an epigraph,
need necessarily trumped pride:
two seventy-something men with cancer
greedily sharing their writing lives.
One of your stories, David,
returns to me today as a reason for hope
—hope for a merciful death.
You wrote of George, a patient
for whom you had stopped the ventilator:
“Before he closed his eyes,
smiling as he felt the morphine,
he said his last words: a piece of cake.”