No Cream, No Sugar—

Always invisible
under the shadow cast
by his domed and pointed hood,
the reaper’s skull
is beautiful
to behold—

it is milk-dipped papier-mâché,
newspaper pages, torn, pressed with butterfly wings
, which absorb the content of obituaries
as often as they do op-ed articles
and the Sunday Funnies. The words and images spiral
, pattern anthropomorphic impressions
onto thin unbeating wings—yes!

The world is, in itself, extra-terrestrial.

Skulls are alien, and after we die
they forget the sorrows of their forgone flesh, adopt
permanent grins. He’s happy to see you, under that shadow,
the reaper is, his head is light, conducted by the wind,
his cloak a tattered kite that gathers up the sky
to press it all, refreshing, cool,
once more into our lungs
before we die.

This is how the dead dance:
humadum-duepah go go wanarama.
This is how the dead dance:
humadum-duepah go go wanarama.

The cup of coffee on the counter has cooled.
It will wait for you forever.

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