Of the Margin and Death’s Door

by Max Gilman '25 on September 29, 2022
Portfolio Co-Editor


Blankets of nightly aura roll through clouds like spirits,

Trembling scarecrows, inviting the unwelcome crow,

Bits of city rubble rain descend to chapels like meteors,

Terrible tales be told like spirals,

Bellowing frogs croak oil like stomach acid,

Taunting figures lurk in your mirrors,

Burning grass leads you to a path,

To bodies strewn in sickly rain mud,

But your eyes meet the stars,

Tempting your mind to wonder how many,

How many others have made it up there before you?

How many others died, gazing up at a clear night’s sky?

the grim reaper
photo creds: pixabay

Just Yet, Death’s Debt

I chauffeured death to the underworld the other night,

it didn’t bother me as I thought it would,

death was gentle and loving,

holding light, fun conversation for me

as we strode deeper under the vibrant living realm,

I told him it reminded me of an old Emily Dickinson poem,

—I told him I didn’t like some of the words she used.

and I chuckled, exclaiming I’d write my own!

Death laughed with me, an arm around my shoulder,

my two hands on the reins amidst,

—is this what she felt like, riding with death?

Death’s hands were cold and long,

they almost frightened me,

but my nose was often cold,

and was always long,

so I embraced his boney hands around my soft skin,

we bore a matching ring,

—one of gold and blue embers

we didn’t go together well, Death and I,

yet here we were laughing as old friends do,

or maybe something more.

This was supposedly the last time I would ride Death home,

he promised to pick me up the next time we strode together.

—though I always trusted myself more,

when Death would stare through my eyes,

I felt a welcoming coldness,

his eyes were voided with darkness of once brilliant light.

I almost felt myself fall for him again.


finally, we arrived to the abode of death,

he twirled my hair and whispered my favorite words,

through a once xeric tongue,

“My lovely, my darling, when you sing to me, all then once wicked, turns blessed once more.”

A tune we sang in my days of withdrawal,

stop bewitching me, Death,

you beautiful, gentle soul,

don’t tempt me as you do,

with those eyes that beg to see of my passing glance—

—I love you, death, but you won’t be seeing much of me any longer.

“I’m just not ready to be with you, just yet.”

And he smiled and whispered back,

“Then we’ll meet when the time is finally right.”

The dawning of my departure slowly arrived,

as the words I claimed rang renown in my mind cage…

“…to be with you… just yet…”

as I thrusted the ring far from my placid breast,

Death collected his debt and solemnly walked on, to his residence, awaiting my fated arrival, in due time we would again embrace each other as old friends,

or something more…