About Death and Other Things
by Aleksandar Ristovic
translated by Charles Simic
How strange will be my death, of which I've been thinking since childhood:
A sedentary old man leaving a small-town library
leans to one side and eventually collapses on the lawn.
I've every reason to believe that I'll experience what the others have
while I climb the stairs carrying my supper in a plastic bag,
not even turning to look at the one who in that moment descends curly-haired
and wearing a party dress.
It could be an ordinary death on a train:
a man who carefully studies the fields and hills in snow,
shuts his eyes folds his hands in his lap, and no longer sees what only
a moment ago he admired.
I'm trying to remember other possibilities and so, here I am once again,
disguised as myself in a small, merry company,
where, after emptying my glass, I fall on the floor laughing, and pulling after
me the tablecloth with the vase full of roses.
My death, of course, would have a spiritual meaning
in some mountain sanatorium for the insane
where croaking we complain to each other in beds with freshly changed sheets.
It could happen that I'll die in some way very different from the one I
in the company of my wife and daughter, surrounded by books,
while outside a neighbor is trying to start a car that the night has surprised