You did not stray
from your inevitable life
even when you knew
you might not last the year,
red blood cell count way down.
You did not lose your humor when,
bald and blanched, trousers loose,
you climbed wrought iron stairs
to the parkside apartment where
your daughter and Gus the cat awaited
your return from chemo.
An IV port in belly did not keep you
from grilled cheddar and chocolate cake.
You devoured stacks of mail, stroking Gus,
paged through a new poetry book.
Robe flapping, you reclaimed your castle.
A month later
you were gone
but for your voice
on the answering machine
with lines by Anna Swir:
“…more clearly than ever
I am in the company
of my own person”
Claudia Lapp 2012 for Matthew von Baeyer (1938-2006)