For a moment, he was a fireless dragon, smoke
pooling from his mouth. He stood, proud, with a blindfold,
but he didn’t need to see what he was protecting. His throat
quivered as he swallowed. He wasn’t guarding gold.
Cigarette clinging to his lip like a gull to a cliff,
he smiled, savoring the flavor of his last few breaths.
A lord with no treasure, he knew he would forgive
them all, standing in front of the wall, a target on his breast.
I pull the trigger, and my smoke shoots through his.
But mine carries death, and he crumples like a puppet,
smoke spilling from the holes tearing apart his skin.
His smile has burned itself into my mind, a fragment
or a memory that he tried to impart as he died.
I think he knew I was bribed.