Chess is a genre of caress. I know it,
I’ve watched those two, their knees,
Almost not touching. Backs bowing
Over the dilapidated board. Pupils
Flashing with strategy. ‘Do not mistake this
For a game of luck.’ Black, white. Rook,
Knight. Little battle. Small death.
Mind the queen’s movement
And gambit. Intellect against intellect.
Grappling. Castling. Almost loving. Almost
A hatefuck. Beginning in slow motion,
Then quickening. They took clever angles,
Laying into each other’s defenses. Groaning
In turns. Are those masters still learning
One another? I bet they’re still doing it
Every evening, publicly, in the day room,
Over and over, where anyone can watch.
L’s worked with patients, students, and ppl enduring homelessness. His poetry’s appeared in grist, The Notre Dame Review, Pedestal Magazine, Parhelion, AZURE, and others. He once got a Best of the Net nom. Spouse and L dwell in a lump of Wisconsin, under the hegemony of their one rescued quadruped.