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Telling Death his Business
by Marsha Delaney Metcalfe

Death: your business is to swoop people away at the right moment
once,

one time to wrap us up in your cloak,
carry us off.

You have no business nibbling there at my left knee. You know I am busy doing the dishes, and have a poem to write.

You are arrogant. You are toying with my body, and you have no right.

You have no business laughing and mocking and tugging at carefully chosen parts, mulling me over,

a me created for your delectation.

Or perhaps you think I'm a platter of munchy crunchy fried chicken.

Would you like a breast, a thigh?

Oh! That I could will you to let me be, to take a thousand innocent babies
or a million loved and needed parents all just and kind heads of state every butterfly---

I might, I might not, I have not such a choice.

Fingers clutch at my wrist gently, lightly, not lovingly, reminding me I go home with you.

© Marsha Delaney Metcalfe, 1974 

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