My Cart 


Waiting for the Scythe
Tamara Madison


She’s got 93 years on that body. It still works,
mostly. It needs a brace on one leg (Consult
a neurologist next time you slip a disc!)
but it gets around with the help of a purple walker
with zebra stripes. The brain still works most
of the time, especially with the right

She’s going to donate this body to science:
the 93 year-old heart that hasn’t always
done the right thing; the overactive digestive tract;
the eyes that have seen so much with their
20-40 vision; the vocal chords that have told jokes,
sung arias in five languages and spoken with authority
even upon ignorance; the bony hands that painted
all the paintings that hang on her walls.
She’s pretty sure the Grim Reaper is on his way.
She's been waiting for him for years now.
“What use am I here? Why am I still alive?”

She’s in bed right now in a purple nightgown,
waiting. I tell her, “If you really want him to come,
play hard to get! If you keep throwing yourself at him,
he’ll never come.” And every time he does come by
he takes a look and says, “Nah, not this time.”
Maybe he’s saving her — not for last, for of course
there is never a last. Maybe he’s saving her
for that one day when he’ll be sure she’s the right one;
he’ll drop his scythe and gather her into his arms:
white limbs and silver hair, purple nightgown
rippling in the wind.

This poem received an Honorable Mention in the 2018 Steve Kowit Poetry Prize competition.
Used here with the author’s permission.


Tamara Madison is a swimmer, dog lover, grandmother, and retired teacher of English and French. She is a native of the California desert, and the author of two chapbooks of poetry and three full-length manuscripts--Morpheus Dips His Oar being the latest. Learn more about Tamara at



Post New Comment:
What a great poem--moving, dryly humorous. Superb! Jancan
Posted 09/02/2018 04:58 PM
Loved it.
Posted 08/30/2018 12:53 PM
Lori Levy:
Great poem! Love the humor.
Posted 08/29/2018 02:51 PM
Posted 08/29/2018 10:19 AM
Oh, yes, I know the feeling. I just say, " some days are better than others" and then I let it go.. Great Poem.
Posted 08/29/2018 10:07 AM
I feel the elan of life throughout this poem. Well done, Tamara!
Posted 08/29/2018 09:20 AM
Oh, the question we have no answer for!
Posted 08/29/2018 09:13 AM
Larry Schug:
An amazing poem on many levels.
Posted 08/29/2018 08:41 AM
What a lovely picture- for all of us waiting for that reaper!
Posted 08/29/2018 08:24 AM
Posted 08/29/2018 07:03 AM
Jane Eva Cooper:
Marvellous. Beautifully expressed. Why indeed!
Posted 08/29/2018 05:38 AM

Contents of this web site and all original text and images therein are copyright © by Your Daily Poem. All rights reserved.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Purchasing books through any poet's Amazon links helps to support Your Daily Poem.
The material on this site may not be copied, reproduced, downloaded, distributed, transmitted, stored, altered, adapted,
or otherwise used in any way without the express written permission of the owner.