Death Dropped By for Tea

Death’s face and body kept shifting
man to woman—woman to man.

There was something of Van Gogh
in his vestments.

She brought her own sunlight
to illuminate her face.

It was late afternoon Taos light—
honey colored and thick.

There was not much conversation.
Death listened through ear buds to Marie Baptiste.

When the song ended Death asked
if I would play a game of chess.

I thought how Seventh Seal of him
and a second later she opened the Queen’s gambit.

As the turns move pieces across the board
I wonder how Death had time for this leisure.

As he moved his knight
to capture my bishop, she said

The four apocalypse riders
saddle their horses

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

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