Bette Davis
reaches the landing—
long enough
to say goodbye to her dogs—
then begins her final ascent
to the cozy room
where she'll die
a painless, heroic death.

She's not alone—
she's discreetly observed
by her kindly maid,
distraught in an apron.

It's the role I love to play,
watching my own theatrics.
On a typical day,
spent between landing
and bedroom, feeling my way,
I'm also wringing my hands,
helpless with sympathy,

and oh, there isn't
a dry eye
in the house.