As one opponent calling out checkmate
an hour past midnight could crack a man
already broken and bring allegations
from his tongue, violence to his veins,
bring him to rise and hip-knock the table
so the legs screech, so the pieces quiver
and topple, the bishop a salt shaker
kissed by an elbow, bring him to blows,
to blows, to blows, to grasp the winner
and propel him through plate glass
as if a baptism in geometric water,
so the glass rains and dazzles the floor,
so he emerges from the window stunned,
lacerated, to bring blood and the lilac
breath of night, men with stars pinned
to their chests, handcuffs jingling,
so one's booked, the other's stitched,
as and so and to bring this to this,
the coarse thread lacing up the lesions,
we will be there with our brooms.
Crab Orchard Series in Poetry
Open Competition Award
Southern Illinois University Press
Copyright © 2006 by David Hernandez.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.