Still Death

On a Tuesday in November
Death was wandering

The truth? She was bone-weary
For the work of Death is ceaseless
Nonetheless she does take breaks
(Everybody needs some downtime
Now and then)

On the border of the wood
She found a deer skull
Sun-bleached, gleaming white

She bent, and picked it up
Remembering well the one who’d owned it
But then she stared, almost forgetting
The soft gaze of that gentle doe

Death was transfixed
By the delicate lattice of bone
Stretching like lace
Between its eyes
And where some unknown incident
Had chopped off the front of the skull
Graceful spirals of paper-white
Could be seen
In the nasal passage

Death smiled
And placed the skull gently
On a nearby stump
Next to a tiny heap
Of orangey-brown leaves

Now
Whispered Death to herself
Maybe someone will see
This dead deer
Resting on a dead tree
Garnished by dead leaves
And think
For a moment
Of me

And perhaps that witness
Will say, ah
Death is cruel
But she is also beautiful

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