Game Theory

By , Bryn Mawr, PA
A sight I loathed to see:

my brother falling into Greek love at university,

staggering back before embracing the deluge,

no gentle swell. Inescapable.

Animal magnetism hooked him by the mouth.

I met the boy, resolved to retain my sanity,
instead discovered the universe prefers to work in threes.
Clotho began to spin her thread.
They morphed seamlessly into we.
We began.

Men played chess at the coffeehouse,
but the boy thought that I should participate --

“I don’t know the rules”

“ ‘Course you do.

Everyone plays chess and roulette.”

He studied economics and foreign texts,
scorned his exams – grades are hierarchy –
and spat at his professors’ clean hands.
We pulled at the paving stones

sous les pavés, la plage!
dirty cuticles skimming Marx for inspiration.

e4, e5, f4

I’m an amateur, my nails are weak

I need to buy a shovel
Qh6, Nc3

You don’t profit from the shovel. They profit.
Kd8. Take it. Take it. Endgame.

Lachesis shows me the length of the thread.

A miscalculation.

If you do it right, the numbers do not form zero.

A sight I loathed to see:

bad grades, unpaid bills, empty cupboards,

my brother bleeding from a blow to his fair Adonis cheek,

no comfort from the boy we both loved.

Does madness give nourishment?

When I stopped digging, he said,

“We are fighting on the board. This country is your queen, your mother.

Take her back.”
I don’t know the rules, but I know the game is not zero-sum.

“Mother would not want me to starve.”

The universe works in threes.
Atropos cuts the thread.





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