The Grim Reaper sits in a tire swing

hung from the branch

of a huge old maple

set back thirty feet from the sidewalk;

his scythe abandoned casually on the ground

near a rose bush

growing around the trunk of the tree.


Lazily swinging back and forth,

he’s humming softly to himself,

the tips of his deep purple boots

just skimming the bare patch of ground beneath the swing.


“ Nice night,”

I offer, hoping to sound neighborly.


“Indeed it is,” he replies magnanimously.

“It’s my night off,” he adds,

as if he feels an explanation is in order.


“Well, you’ve got a great night for it,”

I answer, doing all that I can to keep

from picking up my pace.


“What’s your name, by the way?” he asks,

seemingly as merely an afterthought.


Pretending not to hear,

I then do pick up the pace a wee bit.

I hear his guttural chuckle,

but don’t let myself turn around.

Instead, I throw up my right hand

In what I hope will be construed as a

“See ya, have a good one” wave.


“I’m Edward,”

I hear him shout after me plaintively,

causing a pang of guilt

to tug at my conscience.

The Grim Reaper likes to swing?

And his first name is…,



by Roy Dorman


Roy Dorman is retired from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Benefits Office and has been a voracious reader for 60 years. At the prompting of an old high school friend, himself a retired English teacher, Roy is now a voracious writer. He has had poetry and flash fiction published recently in Burningword Literary Journal, Drunk Monkeys, The Screech Owl, Crack The Spine, Yellow Mama, Apocrypha and Abstractions, Every Day Fiction, and Lake City Lights, an online literary site at which he is now the submissions editor.

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