Why Did Hemingway Kill Himself?
We’re all going skiing today.
We adults are apprehensive, not sure how our old bodies will react.
I stand on the porch with my coffee and gaze out:
the lake is a shimmery blue;
the mountains, almost black, divide the lake from the blue sky.
The wet bark and boughs of the pines near the cabin
frame lake, mountains, and sky—
on the mountains white patches of snow.
Why did Hemingway kill himself when he wasn’t dying?
What did he wake and see in the mirror one morning?
What was he afraid of?
Was it death?
He feared death so much that he ran into her arms to escape the fear?
Was it the weakening of his body?
A debilitating, wasting disease?
Disgust at what he had become?
He lived in a cabin, in a wild and pristine place.
Was it not enough to look out across the forest in the morning,
hear the birds, see the mountains against the sky?
To squeeze out of life one last breath of cold air,
to bring in the light refracted through the trees,
the red and yellow flowers in the meadow,
the blue sky,
and process it all through rods and cones,
sparking billions of stars in his sentient self?
Different from the trees that stand silent, mute, mindless, unseeing.
Why did Hemingway kill himself
when perhaps he could write one more paragraph,
one more sentence
that described simply and directly
the world, life,
even if no one would publish it or ever read it?