“A Boy Named Death”

Death at the hospital. Death on his first carride. Death at the park, on the swings, in the restroom. Death at dinner. Death praying, saying prosper us or prosperous, but he couldn’t remember which one his mother had taught him. Death in school. Death passing, Death failing. Death’s first date. Death’s first date’s first orgasm. “Oh, Death.” Death in a dark room, headphones on, music up, TV muted, fan whirring overhead, ladybugs tapping the window and spelling out their cadence—the natural beauty of the world around him, he under the top sheet but not the comforter, tears soaking his pillow. Death on a bicycle. Death’s driver’s permit photo. Death hanged by noose in the basement while his family sleeps peacefully upstairs. Death hitting the ground a moment later when the rope snaps. Death’s neck sore for weeks, his voice gone from the shock. Death telling no one. Death in college. Death happy. Death sad. Death at work. Death at play. Death at a funeral. Death’s wedding. Death at several more funerals. Death constantly reminded who he’s lost by what he is, what he’s called. “Death.” Dad. Mom. Mommy. Death growing old and wearing out. Death looking like Death. Death reaching an inner peace in front of the big mirror on the wall facing his bed in the home where they placed him when he grew senile in those final years.

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About William Morris

William Morris is an MFA candidate at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He loves cats and coffee. He is the recipient of the 2015 Besse Patterson Gephardt Award for Fiction. His work has also been published or is forthcoming online at Crab Fat Literary Magazine, Oblong Magazine, drafthorse, and 5x5.