Aphelion Issue 275, Volume 26
August 2022
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The Angel of Death Offers Consolation

by Bruce Whealton

The Angel of Death approached Courtland
as he stood holding a drink
alone, crying, hoping no one would see him.

"Let's go for a ride."

"Who are you?"

"Someone who loves you,
who understands you
and what you are going through."

"I can't see your face."

"That's ok, I can see you."

So they got in his car
and began a long talk
as Courtland drove through
the dark streets.
Observers would have said he was alone
in the car but Courtland would have
told them differently…
he would have told of a beautiful woman
riding with him.

"They don't understand you
and won't take you seriously…
Go ahead…
Call 911 and tell them what you are going to do!"

"I can't do it."

"Go ahead, call them, you'll see.
They don't understand you like I do…
No one ever will…"

So he did call 911.

The Angel of Death kept speaking to him
as he drove,
as he became more desperate.

"There's only one way you can be
with me forever," the Angel of Death told Courtland.

"I can't do it," he answered.

"They're not going to take you seriously
just because you cry.
Make them understand the depth of your pain…
Tell them you have a gun with you
and you're ready to end your life now.
Then they'll listen."

So, he told them 911 operator
just what the Angel of Death had said.

The next several moments
he spent listening to the 911 operator
in one ear
and the Angel of Death in the other,
until all he could hear
was the soothing hypnotic voice
of the Angel of Death.

When he came to a traffic light
he didn't hear the police telling him
to stay in the car.

"Do you really want to be with me,
forever?" the Angel of Death asked him.
"Then take this and go.
Go ahead. You can do it.
They'll remember you now!"

The next sounds to be heard
were from the police.
Four gunshots.
"Shots fired."
"Man down."

Background note on poem: Courtland Smith died after being shot by an Archdale police officer. Smith had called 911 threatening suicide, and adding that he had a gun and had been drinking. For a full story read here: www.wral.com/news/local/story/5880002/

© 2010 Bruce Whealton

Bruce Whealton has been the co-editor and publisher of Word Salad Poetry Magazine since 1995 and their newest publication, Haiku Ramblings. They publish both on the web at WordSaladPoetryMagazine.com and in print. Bruce has a Bachelors Degree from Georgia Institute of Technology and a Master's Degree in Social Work. He has been writing and studying poetry for many years with various mentors. His poetry has been published recently in The Horror Zine, and the associated Anthology called “And Now the Nightmare Begins: The Horror Zine. His poems have also appeared in “lines written w/a razor,” “Childe Bryde,” “lunatic chameleon,” “the thin edge of staring, “Chance Magazine,” Venus Rising, the Wilmington Star News' Port City Poets, and “Gravity Hill,” and “Simple Vows Anthology” which is put out by St. Andrews College Press.

Find more by Bruce Whealton in the Author Index.

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