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Checkmate

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My Grandpa wore a pen
in his shirt-pocket at all times.
He clipped it to his glasses case
and seldom pulled it out, but it hinted
at his immaculate personality.

Today, he is dressed in a soft blue
cotton button-down with short sleeves,
his proud Jewish nose jutting
out from his face as he concentrates on the task
at hand. Chess is his specialty, but he is valiantly
letting five-year-old Woody win.

Woody, whose face
is not yet hardened from years of bullying
and unexpressed emotions.

Woody, back when he
still gave hugs
and said “I love you.”
He’s about to make his next move, hand hesitating
over the pure white bishop.
He’s already claimed one of Harold’s knights,
a fine sacrifice for two of his pawns.

Grandpa’s silver wristwatch glints in the light
from the open window, its face white and mysterious.
The carpet is dark teal, sun-dappled



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