Death Comes to Town

The church bell tolls 12 times.
A tumbleweed careens down
parched mainstreet.

Where is everyone who said they had my back?

At the intersection
Nemesis
dressed in black.

My feet shuffle forward.

Masked faces press against the saloon windows.

I wonder who betrayed Me?
The waitress who didn’t wear her mask over her nose?
The drunk Sacramento couple who wouldn’t wear masks?

The boardwalk creaks.

Grit in my mouth.
Unfinished list in my pocket:
regrets
loves
treasures.

A gopher breaks through the hardpan.

Where have all your brave words gone?

Nemesis’ ivory face
glints.

A barn owl screams.

It’s not over, until it’s over.
Guffaw.

Unamused
Nemesis sets up the table
unfurls the chess board
bids me to move.

White pawn to e4.