Death Uses a Lot of Laundry Detergent

Alyssa Mazzoli

First-Prize Winner
2016 Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers

Let’s say Death is a person, because it makes me feel better to think of Death this way. Death as a person doing normal person things, like laundry or feeding the dog. When Death feeds the dog, it overfeeds the dog. This is because Death has an affinity for dogs. When Death feeds the dog, it talks to the dog. Not with its tongue but with its hands, hands being the most canine part of a person. Full of hackles and barking all the time. For silly things, like laundry. Death gathers the laundry to its chest in order to feel warm. Maybe uses too much detergent, smells like soap for a week. I like to think of Death as something warm that uses detergent. Death smelling like soap at work. Death smelling like soap in bed. The lover pressing its face into Death’s shirt, saying Death you smell like soap did you use too much detergent? Death and the lover at Christmas dinner, the family examining the lover and tearing pieces of turkey apart with their forks. Death has examined the lover every day for the past x years, is sick of examining the lover. Or has grown too close to examine the lover without also examining itself. Instead Death feeds its turkey to the dog and continues this for some time before the host notices. The host says Death you’re not supposed to do that. And Death does it anyway and the dog begins to choke. The host says Death look what you’ve done the dog is choking. Death, scared for the dog. What do you have to say for yourself?

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