by David Harmer
Several poems composed by Miss Emily Dickinson, the enigmatic Belle of Amherst, revealing bereavement occasioned by the pathetic and untimely death of her esteemed colleague, Ricardo Cracrofto, the quiet and reclusive poet (so tragically and unjustly neglected by the Literati, then as now), in which Dickinson comments upon death in general. They were recently discovered in some stacks of old receipts in the office of the Treasurer of Amherst College by David Harmer, a student in Brigham Young University’s Study Abroad—Semester in Massachusetts Program.
67b Death is counted sweetest By those who ne'er drop dead And also for a poet Who is better dead than read. 465b I heard an Insect—while he lived— His Muse I think it was— Still—when I read his Poetry— I hear that damn Fly buzz. 712b Because he would not stop for Death— Death kindly stopped R.C.— Proving to me yet again Death has Charity. The Carriage held but Cracrofto— Another could not fit— Because his Bulk was in—inverse— Proportion to his wit— 1100b The last Day that He lived It was a Common Day Except his Hollering scared People Twenty miles away. He noticed smallest things— Details—loudly swore, "You said I must Publish or Perish— Not both! It's either/or!" 214b We gave him liquor never brewed Save in the Still in Back— Hopeful that his strained windpipe Would mercifully go slack. 1732b They slammed it thrice before it closed— Cracrofto's too-tight coffin They dropped it twice, and hefting it, They paused to gasp—often. 585b I liked to see him lap his Soup— And lick the Ice Cream up— Sneak crackers in his bed at night And drink—the buttered cup. 449b (I died for curiosity)— Listening in my Tomb I heard them drop R.C. into An adjoining—Room. He questioned softly, "Emily?" "Ricardo," I replied— "I heard a Fly buzz—Amherst Belle—" "Of course, my dear—you've died."