The Dead Have Better Things To Do

by | Dec 12, 2023 | Issue Thirty-Six, Poetry

How we love to imagine them lounging around, looking out for us,
distracted from the delights of the afterlife, waiting to swoop in
and snatch us by the collar as we’re about to step off some cliff.
But the Dead more likely resemble cashiers at an all-night supermarket,
groggy, even a little vague, under the fluorescent lights, hoping to skim
a few more chapters before their Biology midterm in the morning,
maybe find a few minutes to flirt again with that cutie in Produce.
Yeah, The Dead have their own shit to deal with. And might grow
more than a little annoyed having to address the same stupid requests
every hour, every night. I know the deli counter’s closed but could ya
scrape me up a BLT? Nope—not in their job description. After all,
hadn’t they taken this damn post, assuming no brand of idiot
would be shopping in the middle of the night? No, they’re not there
to search stockrooms for your favorite Polish pickles or to mop up
the blue goop seeping from the Tide display before some sucker slips
and breaks his neck or to play security when your drunk pal pockets
a king-sized candy bar. No. If you’re lucky, or blessed, all you’ll get
at this late hour is a name tag that says “Welcome!” and maybe
a smile as you’re bagged up and directed toward the nearest exit.

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