Leveler Poetry Journal
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Steps for the Grim Reaper


On the mahogany landing, in the middle of the deck outside,

goslings have gone outsized and berserk,

and if you choose to follow them (i.e., line up your clumsy

scythe behind their fluffy, quivering standard bearer),

I don’t see you keeping appointments for days on end.

Sure, my father and my first wife might love that

beyond the telling, though once you think it through,

swine on the sycamore platform, at the very top of the deck,

will hate to be kept waiting for when walnuts drop

and the pale-green-squash-of-summer-that-any-chef-


of-my-true-love’s-upper-arms ripen and burst on their stalks.

No, it’s more likely on the willow landing, near the bottom

of the stairwell, that blue-legged frogs will boast and boast

about the threatening pretence that for once and for all

they’ve become carnivorous and can chomp on fingers

and toes at will (as if your black appendages were over-

baked pretzel sticks), and so for whatever it may be worth,

I have to confide those frogs are what my love and I

would tremble about most if we were you.

William C. Blome