The Last Act of a Jester

Jester

Can death be the last act of a jester
On a theatre called the hospital bed?
You wonder and you gather evidence
That it is perhaps so – a somber episode
When shutouts and blackouts outnumber
Flames on threads and a solitary figure
On a bed, makes a lasting pantomime
With his pallid face, looks the doctor
With a death look and a ghost wish
And pokes his tongue out by reflex
To show a whiter shade of pink.

And a ventriloquist god
Will whisper in his ear that it is all over
And all he can do is to live out
A miserly span of a few seconds to minutes
Until the zombie apocalypse
Eclipses his vital signs
When blood turns cold to a silent snowstorm
As organ systems – one by one –
Snowball lifelessness and passivity
And all he can do is to bite his ghostly lips
And hope to god that the tongue
Will not stick out fully akin to a sleeping street dog.
If not, the post-mortem
Will simply read – death by slapstick.

And kith and kin around the bed,
Who will now gaze at his pale face,
Will turn a little ghostly in expression and slightly
Wet around the lashes and will
Remember the times gone-by
In fondness and loss. And that theatrical episode
Of a tongue-poke death, will linger on to
A landslide of emotions.

And surrounding a man with a half-strung tongue
Will be an outpouring of coulrophilia
– The mass adoration of a clown –
In a requiem of his final act.

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Author: meandererworld (Dilantha Gunawardana)

Dr Dilantha Gunawardana is a molecular biologist who graduated from the University of Melbourne. He moonlights as a poet. His poems have been accepted/published in Forage, American Journal of Poetry, Kitaab, Eastlit and Ravens Perch. He mixes science with poetry for a living, when what matters is the expression of both DNA and words into something serendipitous. Although an Australian citizen, Dilantha is domiciled in Sri Lanka, his country of birth.

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