Creeping Death

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In sad silence
I see her walking through the market,
Her yellowed skin stretched tight.
Straggling nicotine-stained hair
Infested by Death.

Doddering steps speak volumes
Of uncertain gait causing chaos
In the traffic lanes. A nuisance
Past her time
Death clings to her.

Nestling in her purse this weeks instalment
Of the pension her husband earned,
God rest his mouldering soul.
Beside it the bus pass and the photograph
Of the grandchild she never sees.

At home on Thursdays she ekes out that pension
Poking it into shabby envelopes behind the clock
One each for Rent, TV, Gas and Electric.
Pop’s unsteady stool helps her reach the top shelf
And her funeral fund stashed in a Yorkshire Tea tin.

Like an old friend, death sits down with her,
Soothing the long familiar days.
She wears it like a shawl, comforted by its proximity
Breathing its cool promise.
Each day, she knows, draw it closer.

Oh she remembers when death played shy
Darting from shadow to shadow
But now it nestles beside her.
And she loves it for its promise of adventure
Of escape from her soporific entrapment.

She’ll be smiling when her neighbour calls,
A frozen, toothless grin
Forever unchanging.
The battered funeral chest scattered
Amidst the pieces of Pop’s shattered stool.