Suzanne Turner

Suzanne Turner
is a poet, seeker, mother of boys, and reformed political communicator. Her poetry and art work have been previously published in Madness Muse Press.

Chess with Einstein

Today he smelled like limburger,
the stink of his curdled sweat biting into my nose
as he leaned over the chess board.

Every Saturday I did him this favor.
We tried to help those newly arrived but that crazy hair!
That slash of fresh mustard smeared across his filthy sweater!

He enraged me – OUR HELPLESSNESS! – and,
thinking of my cousins and their families
[lost, gone, how? I refused to dwell on it],

I snatched his rook. He always stumbled
into the same trap every week at the exact same time.
I GRABBED it with relish at his stupidity.

Unlike my cousins, I would always win.

The crooked clock ticked on the shelf, the water seeped,
bit by bit, down the far institutional wall.
When I finally took his king, he leaned back, satisfied.

“You take the small pieces at the same time each week”
he said, to himself, musing,
“yet you toy differently with the king.

“All of this – the agony and the ecstasy –
all of it is happening at once. Look at it.”
Then he made a note on the little pad he carried.

He drove me nuts, that crazy refugee, always talking nonsense.

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