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Linda Parsons: Checkers with my Granddaughter

She’s not out for blood but, like her father,
         a natural strategist and soon has me 

in her grasp. This lithe player at eleven
         paints me into a corner—her proud  

red battlements, mine hapless black. 
         Sometimes you have to sacrifice, she says. 

It’s not that I lack attention or forethought.
         I see in her the girl I was at the same age, 

inching square by square, away from 
         the only life I knew, a checkerboard 

of attack and evade: my mother’s war 
         of attrition, my stepmother’s detente. 

I waver on the board. It’s time to sacrifice, 
         my granddaughter repeats. She double- 

then triple-jumps me, just as I leapt 
         one mother to another, into my father’s 

good graces—the playing field strewn 
         with uncountable dying and wounded. 

I yield to a girl still a stranger to grief 
         and loss. I crown her victory yawp. 

Copyright 2021 Linda Parsons

Linda Parsons is the poetry editor of Madville Publishing. Her many

collections of poetry include Candescent (Iris Press, 2019).


4 comments on “Linda Parsons: Checkers with my Granddaughter

  1. Barbara Huntington
    June 14, 2021

    My recently turned 12 year old loves chess. She is currently in my basement fiesta room making sure she only shows blank walls for her class that starts in a few minutes. I remember that age.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. kyuringenko
    June 14, 2021

    Oh, but you won! The dynamic interrelationship of the pieces (people, events) and the moves (the way it all unfolds in the stepped two-line stanzas) is a beautiful thing to behold.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. kim4true
    June 14, 2021

    Love you, Linda.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Rose Mary Boehm
    June 14, 2021


    Liked by 2 people

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This entry was posted on June 14, 2021 by in Poetry and tagged , , , , .

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