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If life meant death
and death a gate,
and if drawing breath
were to terminate

in its slamming shut
on an insensate
eternity –

should birth imply
the final caress,
the lidded eye,
the new address

in the twelfth row
at the twentieth plot,
where fingernails grow
but the mind does not,

in a stone vault
to retard decay
and the grave's assault
(which comes anyway,

through the stone's hood ) –
if Nothing is all
that awaits the good
and bad and tall

and short: a fate
to be only one
more candidate
for oblivion –

then, given a choice,
I think many or most
might preference voice
for being a ghost.

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