And if it Rains
The zugzwang he was trapped in, like a burning home,
squeezed on the centre. The room was dark and cold,
curtains drawn, the air so stagnant the entire flat
retched from perpetual check, the doors gave cover
to the wood wound howl of du Pré. He could trade
a pawn, but only underpromote. What would a Grandmaster
do faced with a mating net, when even j’adoube seems to worsen
his defence? Begging for destruction, he kept one eye
on the two-faced clock, each stroke serving to issue
a warning of encroaching zeitnot. Rxf3:
some fancy Rook-work maintains a hold, but is premature.
He has strayed way beyond the two-hundred aids of The Chess Euclid.
A nightingale fills all the street with inviolable scream;
a call to see a man en prise, a failed scholar, a thwarted fool,
the king rolling on the grid.
in the basement sits a kist
of mottled layered steel,
tap in six digits, turn
the plastic X that marks the spot,
the cube unlocks. Inside on a shelf
you’ll find a scuffed gold tin, insert,
rotate the key, ease up the lid,
and probe the zip lock bag within,
finding currency from every cankered state:
necrotic green, fresh bruise blue,
jaundice yellow, burst blood vessel red.
Arrange each portrait into order of rank:
monarch, despot, inventor, writer.
Gather them all into a stack, close each lid and door,
go up by the back into the street,
and scatter them all to their designated wind.