Poetry Workshop Challenge: Reworking Folklore

Death Waiting


In the market. Can you see? Can you see?

White men, white horses, send servants to me,

Old merchants, old men, hiding in the crowds

all men seeing what they cannot outrun.

Now that my business in Bagdad is done


In the market, in the streets, you see me.

The young men, the rich men, all try to flee.

In the market, I am here, surprised

To see, that you would try to outrun me.


I do not stay, and I do not follow.

I don’t need to know where you come from.

Now that my business in Bagdad is done

I am the thing you can never outrun.


On the roads, on your horses, do you think

You won’t find me? Rich men, greedy men

Find me tonight in new marketplaces

Where I always knew, I would come for you.


On Earth, I saw you there, I see you here

Now that my business in Bagdad is done

And now you see you could never outrun

Your appointment with Death in Samarra.

Published by Ben Berman Ghan

Hi! My name is Ben Berman Ghan. I’m Jewish Settler, writer, editor, and academic based in Tkaronto/Toronto, site of Treaty 13 and Williams Treaty territory, currently working on my MA at Ryerson University's Literatures of Modernity program. I am the author of many short stories, a few essays, and the fix-up novel What We See in the Smoke (Crowsnest Books 2019)

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