Death’s First Day: in (an almost) sestina

It was the first time I killed a man.

Just shortly after 2 am.

Three people passed by unawares.

The fourth called an ambulance.

After five minutes of chest compressions

He was declared dead six minutes before.


A little while later six detectives convened

a solitary meeting to discuss possible suspects.

The five who made the list were interrogated

Twice but their lawyers

got them released after charging them twenty-five dollars for every quarter hour.

Of which they used three.


If I had arrived three minutes earlier

six detectives would have sat twiddling their thumbs

but luckily for the four of them paying alimony

I was late the first time I killed a man.

I’m the second generation to hold my position

For five years I’ve heard all about how important my job is.


I wish someone would have told me how to not be late five years ago.

But no! I get three weeks of shadowing my predecessor

And two tries with him shadowing me.

Now I’m six days in

After fumbling the first time I killed a man,

and there are four orders on my list.


Four judges wanted the case,

Eighteen to life but paroled at five,

was the expected outcome after I first killed a man.

If the three witnesses could have identified me

I’m sure I would have been sent up the river Styx.

Two of the three heads of Cerberus pointing my way.


My two brothers laughed when they saw my uniform.

Four millennia people like me have been doing this job;

Six members of my family are reapers like me.

I spent five years hoping it would get a little less cliche

but I was wearing the three piece black suit and carrying a scythe

the first time I killed a man.


At two in the morning I was five minutes late,

invisible to the four passersby, three of whom kept walking,

on that day in June, when I first killed a man.

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