It Is Not Welcome Here by Taylor Millaway

Death is the family friend who comes in from Michigan
Reminds you of the weight you’ve gained since last December
Never brings its own shampoo, leaves a wad
of hair in your shower drain,
drives through your flower bed on its way out

The first time I met death,
it greeted me with M&M cookies still warm from the oven
and I thought to myself how odd it was
that Lambeth-Troxler baked cookies so close to the bodies

As we picked out the casket color, I thought about the time
my father and I sorted those candies by color
Oh, how he always ate the blue ones first.

The other living and I settled on champagne-gold
I thought it would compliment his kind, cool eyes, even though
I wouldn’t be able to see them again with the lid closed

Death watched me as I drafted his obituary in that cold office
It sat in the corner and mocked me
as I had to erase “is” to write “was”

I told death it was no longer welcome in my home
Said that it had brought too many bed bugs,
uneasy Wednesdays, mouths full of gristle
and for a while, it didn’t come around
Sure, it had still come to visit once or twice since then,
but it had stayed with distant relatives

I must not have made myself clear
because the next time I saw the bastard,
it came to me with a plate of chocolate-chip cookies

This time I didn’t care that they probably fostered death particles,
because I remembered how it felt to eat for the first time in three days

Death fought me as I tried to keep down each bite
The guilt whisked into the dough complimented
the metal undertones from my busted lip

The steam rising from the cookies reminded me of
the smoke that once formed a halo over my grandmother’s cigarette
Her fingernails coated in OPI’s “Cajun Shrimp”,
a Marlboro Light 100 comfortably lounging in
between her fingers as if it owned the property
Those full, rosy lips proclaiming their independence from men

Death left with a smirk on its face,
without saying goodbye
We both know he’ll be back.


Taylor Millaway is a 19 year old Greensboro native who spends too much of her time sitting on the floor of Ed Mckay’s Used Books + More. She is chronically late and very bad at math.

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