The ├╝bermensch beats me again.

I was so close, just ahead, and so he changed
the game. With a cunning “pass,”
he laughed and said, “I like your chances,”
and rearranged my honest win, and our fun
became something else. It’s not that
I mind losing; Lord knows I have
many times. It’s just
the way he used the legal
tactic that is a sin. In my mind, he has become
Wal-Mart, a Super-PAC, a Hedge Fund,
interlocking into everything evil,
a tiny tiled piece of the reason
of what is wrong with this world.
Once, I delighted in our pure
friendly bridge of words connecting
pride and pleasure in the brainy
brother love, worthy adversary. I adore

long syllabic trains, I blindly coddle
my soft vowels, pretty consonants. I rest
waiting on haunches with the clench
of a stiff finish present-tense ING
or the dreaded ED
to lengthen the beauty. I think
I prefer the stretch into new territory
over a tight knot of points. I understand
what Nietzsche meant, that every
One is not equal: after all, my two letters are ones,
and you have a ten. Having felt
the dark heat of Will
to the Power it takes to survive you, I decide
the style of the “fittest” is not for me. Now,
I know who you are.
And everything about game
in this game is over.



When Julia Gordon-Bramer is not playing Scrabble, she is a professional tarot card reader, Sylvia Plath scholar, and adjunct professor of Creative Writing at Lindenwood University, St. Louis. Her book, Fixed Stars Govern a Life: Sylvia Plath's Qabalah Code, which reinterprets Plath's work based on tarot and the Qabalah, will be out later this year with Stephen F. Austin State University Press.