Erica Jong

26 March 1942 / New York City

My Death

'Death is our eternal companion,' Don Juan said with a most serious air. 'It is always to our left, at an arm's length . . . It has always been watching you. It always will until the day it taps you.'
-Carlos Castaneda

My death
looks exactly like me.
She lives to my left,
at exactly an arm's length.
She has my face, hair, hands;
she ages
as I grow older.

Sometimes, at night,
my death awakens me
or else appears in dreams
I did not write.
Sometimes a sudden wind
blows from nowhere,
& I look left
& see my death.

Alive, I write
with my right hand only.
When I am dead,
I shall write with my left.

But later I will have to write
through others.
I may appear
to future poets
as their deaths.
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