The Thirteenth Light
Cheryl Chambers

A man should learn to keep his libido
resting on the dock, watching water
trickle by. After thirteen, abiding to
laws of nature becomes the ceiling rafter
to hang yourself with. A parent only
parents so much, then excess must alter
life to death. When the man of this story
begets too many, God and Satan no longer
look attractive, and Death in all his glory
is the savior of our story.

Death has his conditions. So this lucky
thirteenth becomes a man of healing,
but the king falls ill and our boy tries
to use the herb, cheats death this first
time. Death is a forgiving father
and turns his cheek this once. But twice
becomes the fatal wound, when the princess
uses her beauty to skew the wants of one.
Our medical doctor is smitten and delivers
one last life. Her cheeks become rosy
and that’s when Death strikes.

Death is sorrowful, as any adoptive parent
would be when spited for the enemy,
the living. So he casts the good doctor
down to Hell and there it is illuminated
more than Heaven, I’m told. Each flame
signifies something: a boy, a girl, the married
and the old. Last and least our hero
sees his candle flicker low. He tries another
cheat, but Death has caught on. In spite
of intellectual theories, our doctor has to go.

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