The Attorney for Death

I met the attorney for death out running
on the beach,
his footfalls matched mine so well
I didn’t know he was behind me
till he drew alongside

He grinned through his dark glasses and
offered me a cigarette
“Don’t smoke ‘em,” I panted, he said
neither did he and laughed out loud

He seemed to be gaining on me the whole time
we held stride for stride

A beeper yelped at his hip and he answered,
ordering the buying and selling of orphanages
and graveyards
named for certain living villages I know well

The washing of the waves gave voice to the
ancient cavern in me,
deep shadow I can swim to in a cold breath,
eyes closed, though it’s
too dark down there anyhow to see

His breathing was light,
his strides graceful and athletic as the old
gods must have been

The sun hissed in liquid metal
on the horizon
He cast a chill on me as he went past

though he threw no shadow