When death drops in
for dinner
you set out
the good china;

sparkling / sparking
reflections of
his face, bones

and you feed him
carrot sticks
for his eyesight -
never could tell
who he was looking at.

There is no
small talk
at the table
because Death,
dignified even while
milk drips from

the holes decay created,
resents etiquette
like he resents life.

Death likes his mints
sour, his songs
macabre, his

goodbye kiss
raw and bleeding,
a bewildered reminder
of why he only
stops by once a year.

He never stays the night,
and your hands come away
sticky on the dirty
dinner plates.