THE LIST OF UNUSUAL DEATHS
by Deborah Flanagan
In 762, poet Li Po kisses the reflection of the moon beside his boat,
falls overboard and drowns.
I like men and moons.
His head, an old chandelier, going dark.
In 1911, Distiller Jack Daniel kicks his safe: can’t remember the combination.
Dies from blood poisoning from his infected toe.
In 1387, Monarch Charles the Bad is wrapped in brandy-soaked bandages
and sewn in. Instead of cutting the end of thread, his servant uses a candle: accidentally burns him alive.
In my heart the fire develops.
I baptize myself in the moat of the castle.
My vision is getting a little sparkly around the edges.
I need to hear a fairy tale so I can feel safe.
I can’t find what I’m looking for—
My old-fashioned manners prevent me from shaking his hand.
I can’t stand to be tickled.
I eat the goose’s golden egg sunny side up.
In 1978, mathematician Kurt Gödel suffers from an obsessive fear of being poisoned: refuses to eat food prepared by anyone other than his wife.
Dies of starvation after his wife is hospitalized for six months.
I wish I knew why the dogs refused
to eat the palms of Jezebel’s hands.
In 620 BC, Athenian law-maker Draco is smothered to death by gifts of cloaks showered upon him by appreciative citizens.
Despite a lot of dear little ghosts,
I can’t bear the strain of moving into a haunted house.
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