Encounter with Death in a Hallway

(This poem is in honor of my friend’s grandmother who has a knack for walking silently and scaring her granddaughter because of it)


Grandmother. She walks like death.

She could slip past the

Reaper and he wouldn’t hear.

The reticence of her steps

lets her

sneak around,

traveling the opposite direction,

without me noticing

as I drift towards the kitchen.

Ten out of twelve steps

to the kitchen,

down the hallway’s

(perfectly dusted)

hardwood floors—

on autopilot—I shift

to turn right through

the kitchen doorway.

Blindsided by Grandmother.

Almost colliding with her,

the sudden flash of her

pink blouse and

white hair is

abrupt and


scaring me to my bones.

I jump

out of my skin!


then laughter splits our silence.

“Always watch the corners,”

she giggles her old saying to me

with a placating hug

as usual.

I have never fully grasped her

art for stealth;

only hoped for a future when

I can surprise

my own grandchildren

with the same mastery.

Chuckling, she pads away,

her house shoes

as quiet as death.


One Reply to “Encounter with Death in a Hallway”

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