Sometime between dinner and sleep
one more man insists on dying.
Death gathers her jacket and hat
to journey into the cold night
and find him—a Thompson or Smith—
draped over a plate of pasta.

She pauses, follows protocol,
checks at the neck for any sign
of a gentle throb or pulsing,
lifts open his eyelids to see
his eyes are growing dry and dim,
checks his wallet for relatives,
plays all of his phone messages.

Death thinks about skin, how its map
stretches like a drum over the
body’s topography of scars,

before folding this man’s slack arms
across him and lifting what’s left
onto a table for loading
into her quiet black sedan.


Rebecca Macijeski holds a PhD from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has attended artist residencies with The Ragdale Foundation, The Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and Art Farm Nebraska. She has also worked for Ted Kooser’s “American Life in Poetry” newspaper column, as an Assistant Editor in Poetry for the literary journals Prairie Schooner and Hunger Mountain, and is the recipient of a 2012 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize. Her poems have appeared in The Missouri Review, Poet Lore, Barrow Street, Nimrod, The Journal, Sycamore Review, Potomac Review, Storyscape, Fairy Tale Review, Puerto del Sol, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Gargoyle, and many others. Rebecca is an Assistant Professor at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana where she teaches creative writing and literature. Visit her online at