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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).