Poem – Martha and Mel Wait for the Elevator (By Donal Mahoney)

I died from a rattlesnake bite
and found myself in line with
other zombies in front of a bank 
of elevators, the doors opening 
and closing as if by metronome.
Every time a door opened a voice
called the names of 12 zombies
who boarded the elevator single file.
As the doors closed, Led Zeppelin 
or Bing Crosby played in the background
depending on whether the elevator went 
up or down according to the light 
winking above the door
The rest of us waited our turn
as more zombies arrived 
and lined up behind us.
I saw no one I knew except 
a couple who looked like 
Martha Stewart and Mel Brooks 
discussing the future.
Mel was on stilts so he looked 
Martha straight in the eye.
When the rattlesnake bit me,
Martha and Mel were alive on Earth
so I had no idea why they were there 
with us zombies but nevertheless 
I listened as Martha told Mel
she didn’t care which way 
the elevator went as long as 
she found prime rib and a glass 
of Dom Pérignon waiting
when she arrived.
Mel didn’t care either, he said,
as long as he found a steamed
Nathan’s Hot Dog with two squirts 
of mustard, lots of relish, 
raw onion and sport peppers 
hotter than hell and a 
tankard of seltzer iced.
Seltzer is better, he said,
than Dom Pérignon.
Ask any sommelier.
Another elevator arrived and Martha 
and Mel, arm and arm, boarded.
This time I didn’t hear Led Zeppelin
or Bing Crosby in the background.
I saw Martha stare Mel in the eye,
wag her finger and tell him to try
prime rib because too much
cholesterol lurks in hot dogs.
Enough to kill you, she said.

Author Bio:

Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri. He has had fiction and poetry published in various publications in the U.S. and elsewhere. Among them are The Galway Review (Ireland), The Recusant (England), The Missing Slate (Pakistan), Guwahatian Magazine (india), Bluepepper (Australia), The Osprey Journal (Wales), Public Republic (Bulgaria), and The Istanbul Literary Review (Turkey). Some of his earliest work can be found at and some of his newer work at