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Chess Match Ends in Fight

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,
the coarse thread lacing up the lesions,

as and so and to bring this to this,
we will be there with our brooms.

David Hernandez
Always Danger
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.

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