in cars,
on trains—a hundred times
each day. He gets off
at any number of stops
and people never know it
but they just missed him—
by a moment,
a moment when a streetlight malfunctions,
a moment when the breaks fail,
a moment when the wheels fall off,
if they only knew,
how a moment could change it all—
any moment, everyday. Death
is biding his time,
going about his business.

He presses
his oilskin jacket, morning,
night, when it wrinkles
a little—always looking
grand when he takes you.

Death has no mustache to twirl,
no vocal chords to cackle,
no eyes with which to stare.
His bones are not fleshy and
he is diminished
by what
he lacks—nerves,
missing, heart-
less, like a machine is less
than a man, than a mouse,
than any living thing.

Death drifts an inch
off the ground,
sometimes flying first
class, sometimes lifting off
with a shuttle, leaving the earth.
Death is just
death, without fanfare
without rockets,
without special effects.

Death travels like we do,
never needing a ticket to ride,
sure, stoic, often wanting more leg room.

The bus stops at the hospital.
Inside a hundred bowls of Jello
shake and quiver
as he picks over them. People in storage,
wait in each room—little
parking spaces, waiting
for him. Easy enough,
he separates
the bodies from the cocoons, fruit
from the pits—his scythe falls,
driving with precision—often with a rattle.
He lingers—sometimes silently passing
by moments,
by mere moments.