Death and the Healer

The Healer found herself
floating in a void.
A lone female figure
hovered an arm’s length away.
The figure turned toward her.
It was the duchess — the one whom she sought.
“Who are you?” the duchess asked.
“I am Aireal.  Your husband sent me
to bring you back.”  She reached out
and took one of the duchess’ hands.
“Come with me.  We must leave this place.”
But the Angel of Death blocked her way.
“This life is mine,” said Death
as he unfolded his magnificent wings.
“She has crossed the boundary into my realm,
and here she must remain.”
“I defy you,” Aireal boldly said.
“Move aside and allow me to pass.
This life is in my power now.”
“You defy me?” Death responded.
“This is not the first time,” Aireal said.
“I have defied you with every wound
that I have mended
and with every disease that I have cured.
You will eventually claim the duchess
and one day me.  But not today.
I defy you.”
“You are strong, little one,” Death said
as he reached out a skeletal hand
and gently stroked a strand
of Aireal’s raven-black hair,
a strand that ever after
shone white as bone.
Then Death nodded his head,
folded his wings,
and moved aside.

[The poet, author, and gentleman songster, Steven Wittenberg Gordon, MD, resides in Kansas with his wife, children, and a poorly trained Airedale terrier.  He maintains a part-time medical practice, is a member of the Codex Writers’ Group, and is the editor of Songs of Eretz Poetry E-zine.  Visit him at]

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