A Good Day

One day
something happened
and the Reaper of Darkness called
in sick to work
He swung open the medicine cabinet
and spilled all his pills to the floor
Blue ones to calm him down
Green ones to speed him up
and Yellow ones that deadened the pain
bouncing on the linoleum
in a candy-coloured fiesta.

“Death! Death to pills!!!”
he shouted and laughed
before throwing his gowns
to the floor and screaming
a thousand shades of orange
shaking his cheeks until his jowls
blubbered like two bowls full of jelly
and then he laughed because that was
one more bowlful than
St. Nick ever had.

Suddenly he bolted from the bathroom
bursting naked and gangly
onto the streets
screaming and laughing
Showcasing a living garden of
newly discovered bowlfuls
to all his neighbours
he raised his hands in the air
for the first time
free of the scythe!
and then he shook them
and he shook them
and he shook them
like he just didn’t care.

And he shook and ran
until he ran out of town to run through.
So he ran through the fields
until he came to the foothills
and he ran through those too
until he hit the forest
and pierced its foliage
like a cannon ball through
the deck of a ship.
Caressed by the needles of a million branches
his rapid-fire footsteps ignited the wild into life!
sending birds fluttering like fireballs
out of the canopy
and small woodland creatures scurrying
from this screaming, rolling, burning, hissing, laughing
ball of ruckus.

But all the branches in the universe
clinging and grasping
could not hold this day back
and Death’s wildly flubbering bowlfuls
burst through the forest perimeter.
And as he tore up the mountain face
the peaks and valleys humbled
before his enthusiasm
Death relished the geometrical curiosities
of rocks passing rapidly beneath his feet
and pondered how
that was the nice thing about rock
—you couldn’t really kill it.
Not really.

And it wasn’t too long before earth
ran out of earth to offer
the peak came and went
and Death launched himself
off the edge of mortal concern and into space
legs still running, arms still pumping
until he hit the apex
of his momentum…
before twisting
and burning back down
through the atmosphere
where he performed a double-backed twister 8 dive
with two loop-de-loops
and landed a splashless entry
into the ocean’s saran-wrap stillness
surprising even himself
as he had never taken
diving lessons
in all his life
in all of life itself.

Layered in a thousand blankets of silence
he waited until even oxygen had left him
before he began pushing his way to the surface
pushing, pushing, pushing
until he finally parted the seas
with his bony fingers, making a little hole
just wide enough for himself
for himself and the sunlight
to burst through.

into the sun
the reaper of darkness lay
floating on his back
knowing that his pale skin must be burning
but caring little
for all the small deaths
of daily living.

Death just floated there,
lazily sandwiched between
two hues of blue and
wondered why …
more days couldn’t be like this?

Zeus and the Giant Iced Tea cover

Excerpted from Zeus and the Giant Iced Tea.
You can read the ebook for free or purchase a physical copy from AU Press.

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