Valentine

The call of death is a call of love.
—Hermann Hesse

The Grim Reaper waits at the bar,
ice cubes cracking in his glass,
scythe curving across the counter
like a fake nail he might tap if he
was ever bored. See his thin
floppy sleeves? His shoulders are

more hunched than in the pictures.
Neither god nor lord, harvesting
nothing he can keep, he’s a tagalong,
a pulled shade. When he shifts
in his seat, a soft wind stirring silently
under his cloak, when he turns

so you can look into his hood,
think of the lone walk he’s taken
between setting suns, the millennia
of locked doors and reluctant hugs.
When he pulls the shiny red heart
from your pocket, remember: he’s in love.