Do you mind if I smoke?

by Michael Keeling

We attended the soiree by invitation
oblivious of the uninvited;
hypertrophic cells
multiplying
to destroy the tissues of the host.

Upright at the piano
he played for the singer and the song.
Feeding the mood changes
and controlling the tempo;
an underscored significance.

Music scholar, church organist,
choir master, accompanist and tutor,
he had returned to the land
where he belonged,
to devote himself to his beloved music.

And then the shocking news of his collapse;
the body supine
as an empty packet
tossed carelessly aside
with warning words ignored.

Thank you for your playing.
Thank you for your humour and humility.
In answer to your question:
Do you mind if I smoke?
Yes I do.
It killed you.

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