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(1991 / Oregon)

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He used to be grim:
his emaciated, tent-stake ribs;
his chopstick fingers;
his cavernous diaphragm.
A walking ossuary,
stumbling about on his minimalist frame.

I’ve lost count
of how many plagues,
and wars, wars, wars.
The basket full of souls,
gets deeper.

Now a grey-haired businessman-
suit and tie.
He traded his scythe for an iphone,
investing in graveyard stocks.
When did the gas chamber go out of fashion?

Death Incorporated.
Now he works in fast food,
cigarettes, and DUIs.
He has a comparative advantage.

The guy you don’t want to see
on your caller ID.
He’s plump
and he’s patient
‘cause everyone trips
and everyone runs a stoplight once in awhile.
It only takes a little time.

Submitted: Saturday, February 22, 2014

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  • Adeline Foster (3/4/2014 3:15:00 PM)

    I agree this poem says what it means, and says it well. These lines get a Wow!
    Death Incorporated.
    Now he works in fast food,
    cigarettes, and DUIs.

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Daniel Brick (3/3/2014 6:42:00 AM)

    This is a great poem! There's not a false step or a weak line in the whole poem! And every image vividly enhances the character of the reaper! (That's three exclamation points for your poem's technical achievement! NO - FOUR) And the irony is finely focuses and has a real punch! (FIVE) As I type this I can't see the poem so I can't quote any of them, but as I read it, I kept stopping to appreciate them un context. But the overall irony of the Reaper dressing like any contemporary businessman or government official - just doing his job, that is, wrecking people's lives! - is wonderfully presented. This poem should be read widely, both as a poem and as a message.

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