She is not Death himself, but she is Death’s favourite relative
and his friend. They visit in each other’s houses,
water-logged stoved-in arks beneath the Styx.
She carries not a scythe but a rod of iron.
She visits the people in power who do wrong.
She asks them to do the right thing and punctuates
her message with the breaking of small bones.
Yesterday she asked a policeman in a border county
to apologise for calling people names.
‘They are not people’ was his answer. It made her frown.
‘Fingers first, or collarbone?’ she inquired
and did both when he did not answer. Crack, pop, snap.
At the same time, because, like Death, she is everywhere,
she called on the Lord Vice President. ‘You are a vice lord
disguised as a sycophant Christian,’ she said and frowned.
He knew her frown’s reputation and he attempted
to cover up his small bones and his sins.
‘I will leave you breathing so you can repent,’
and go forth to thwart, not aid, your master’s ravings
and to work for restoring decency for all,’
she said and frowned and raised the rod. Crack. Snap.