Death and the Maiden
by Theodora Goss
The night has gathered around me. I think of Death,
who breathes so softly beside my ear, like a lover.
Softly he whispers, “This will soon be over.
You will lay those bones and heavy body down.”
I am in love with him because he holds me
so close, much closer than I have ever been held,
and I think that I will never again be cold,
although a wind is blowing in the darkness.
I worry that he does not seem to care
for the sorts of things I packed before I came here:
my friendships and memories. “What do they matter,” he asks,
“When you are resting safely in my arms?”
I put my bags on the bank beside the river
and answer him, as the night gathers around,
“Death, you are right. These things do not matter,
not here in your arms. Not here.”
(The image is Angel of Death by Evelyn de Morgan. This poem was originally published in my poetry collection Songs for Ophelia, under the title “Death.”)