CHESS GAME 1957 | By: Terry Collett | | Category: Poem - Children Bookmark and Share


I sat opposite Enid
on the floor
of what my mother called
the spare room
where she used to
hang washing
on a wet day

I'd play in there
with a toy box
tucked in one corner

we were playing chess
Enid moved a rook piece
on the board
with her thin fingers

a rook doesn't
move like that
I said

she looked at me
I forget how it moves
she said

I showed you
three times
in a row
I said

she looked at the board
sorry I'm just
too unsettled to play
she said
my dad's too nice
with me these days
and I keep waiting
for him to go back
to his normal self
and lash out at me
even today
he didn't mind me
coming here to
your flat to play
normally he wouldn't
let me near you

then she knocked
the chess pieces
flying across the floor
she stood up
and rushed to the window
and stared out

I picked up the pieces
and stood them back
on the board

let's go out
I said

no I don't want to
she said moodily

I looked at her
standing there
her glasses clean
(for a change)
the red checked dress
white socks
brown sandals

another game of chess?
I asked

what am I going to do?
she asked
he's unnerving me
being nice

take it as it comes
I said
at least he hasn't
beat you recently

she walked to the floor
and sat down again
how does the rook
move again?

I showed her slowly
a few times
maybe he's had
a religious conversion
I said

what's that?

maybe he's gone
all religious

Dad doesn't read
the Bible
he throws it at me
she said

maybe he's in love
with someone else

she paused
and looked at me
do you think so?

hard to believe isn't  it
I said

he wouldn't he
loves Mum too much
Enid said

she moved one
of her pieces
with her fingers

ok then he's just
being nice then
I said
then he'll catch you out
and be what
he was before
and beat you
black and blue

she looked at me
and said
that's what
I'm frightened of
with a shake of her
dark haired head.

Click Here for more stories by Terry Collett