chess

the scars were deep
all over his face
car windscreen maybe?
we sat down
shook hands
arranged the pieces
set the clock
and began
the cut
and thrust
gradually
the nerves subsided
and eventually
I set a trap
a pawn as bait
to tempt his queen
once in
she was doomed
in three moves
at most
the permutations
branched out
like broccoli
at the end
each flower
was death
I checked it
over and over
and made my move
heart in mouth
attention shifted
to him
his eyes brightened
noticing
his prey
his spirits lifted
as he thought it
undefended
I could read his mind
on his battered face
feel his joy rising
as he reached out
and took it
over the next few moves
the reality dawned
his features crumbled
his demeanour sank
his life
drained out
my guilt
lacerating
taking his queen
another cut

chess