Donald Sellitti

Teaching Immortals How to Die

In the shadow of imagined mushroom clouds
they tried to teach immortals how
to die. To crouch beneath school desks
and turn our faces from the man-made suns
that would be setting soon outside our windows.
It’s not so bad they seemed to say.
But they must have chuckled like
camp guards. Knowing.
It was no use though - this lesson -
as we continued to live forever back then, 
still years from facing annihilation
as a private matter.
What I wouldn’t give
to be three seconds from
doomsday again, but young.

Donald Sellitti retired after a thirty-eight year career in research and teaching at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD, USA. He has published extensively in medical journals, and recently had a poem published in Lighten-Up.