i taught my knights to walk
from either corner of my face.
once we were the kingdom.
i felt my flesh checker
as i got older. castles gliding
razor like across the moore.
once, i played with death.
challenged him to a match
on my tongue.
he folded his hands in his lap
as i tried to corner his queen.
two of them dance sapphic
in their rows. who hasn't
been bisected by their own color?
shadow meet daylight. here & then
gone. somedays, just a king remains.
stalks the edge of my bones.
remembers the days
when his round-headed children
marched straight forward
to their destruction. i am
a series of children's crusades.
the bishops's sign of the cross
over their foreheads. all the gone pieces
at the bottom of a well
in my sternum. i followed the rules
for how to depart. clean & precise.
this is how the left side of my face
became a shadow too. sitting
at a halved board. king
on either side of a table.
i feel the patterns of my two male
& two female & two knight. they keep
me wide awake with their plotting.
i spend a day only killing sideways.
then, follow a holy man to the edge
to make up for what was neccesary.
a girl living under the crown
like a goat beneath trampoline