Death walks with you in a school lab, / takes you through a wedding, stops at / a restaurant now shut.
does not wave from afar and carry on
being someone else’s business.
Death turns your coffee cold, erases
every list in your mind to make way
for the four names in your phone.
Death is a guest, you realise, settling
in your couch, raising its feet on the
table you polish by habit.
Death chats about old days, names
your first kiss its favourite, renames
it a failed experiment.
Death is on a roll as it retells the
stories of the four people you have
lost to it this year.
Death knows these tales better than
your memory, which has twisted
them out of shape.
Death walks with you in a school lab,
takes you through a wedding, stops at
a restaurant now shut.
Death leaves you here, sipping cold coffee,
leaves fingerprints on the shining wood –
a challenge, an offer of friendship.