They say you shouldn't drink with Death,
and yet I find myself pouring
another glass of amber liquid.
She's quiet, my companion;
doesn't talk much.
It's strange to see her in person
after hearing all the tales
and fables meant to scare
little children and to
put grown men in their places.
She's different than I expected--
lighter, not quite so hidden behind
a gray cloak or embedded in the shadows.
I ask her why she has graced me
with her presence, and she turns her
hooded head in my direction.
Long ivory fingers clutch the glass
and I notice her nails, like mine,
have been gnawed as far down as possible.
She doesn't answer my question--
not that I really thought she would.
The flickering candle between us
melts ever so slowly
as the small flame arches and twists.
It casts a glow on both our faces--
I am surprised to find that,
though not beautiful,
Death is far from the monstrosity
people have made her out to be.
I feel a sort of sympathy for her then.
What would it be like to never
have anyone see you as you truly are?
And this is why, when she stands,
I don't hesitate in rising as well.
She turns to look at me for a moment,
but I can't see the color of her eyes--
shaded behind deception and uncertainty.
I try to smile because I know
this will be okay.
Death, I can tell, needs the company;
well. I'm not in any place
to deny her what she longs for.
We leave together into
the wavering light
of the coming dawn.
I only glance back once--
the fire of the candle has burnt out;
the bottle of amaretto stands by itself,
a lone soldier left in a forgotten war.
I smirk to myself,
raise the glass to my lips,
and follow my consort
into the rising sun.