Something Like This Every Night

By Cyan James

Sex orders something on the beach
Death wants a screwdriver, because he’s never been screwed over
“Except for that Jesus,” he says. “Except for that Lazarus.
Maybe a few others.”
“Beer before liquor,” Sex says, and Death changes his order
to absinthe, like it’s any better.
He won’t remember
Sex says her gravestone will read ‘Rolling in the Hay All Day’
“Oh Toots”—Death buys her another round—
“Evolution ensured you a long time ago. You’re so going
to outlast me.”
Sex spits.
“Evolution. That cad.
If you kicked the bucket, he’d really be outta business.”
Sex and Death pinky-swear on partnership.
They trade cigars, then stub them out, because smoke got in their eyes.
They stagger home.
That’s them tripping on the doorsill again.
Singing some song whose words they can’t recall.


Cyan James holds a Ph.D. from the University of Washington in public health and an MFA from the University of Michigan in creative writing. Her short stories, essays, and poems have been published most recently in The Harvard Review, the Michigan Quarterly Review, and The Arkansas Review. She has been awarded three Avery Hopwood prizes, has attended several writing residencies, and has always loved things written down.