As Giuseppe Verdi lay dying
in the Grand Hotel in Milan,
adoring Italians laid down straw
and pine needles on the streets
so the Master might pass into eternity
sans the clatter of horses and carriages.

Will any of us be so fortunate at our end
and how might this adoration be expressed
—- a considerate cousin who clears out
the gaudy mylar balloons from our old room ?
—- a kindly nurse who short-circuits the
infernal, blaring television set ?

Or does it simply take composing La Traviata
and Rigoletto to have these unsolicited acts of
similar grace showered upon us as our Life
slowly slides into that cold and sullen stream.