After he again professes his love and swears
he will always protect her, she tells him
about the time she played with her father
and she had insisted he had to let her win
because she was a kid. His face had clouded,
and he had replied by taking her pieces,
one by one. By the time he took her queen,
saving it for last, she was sobbing it wasn’t fair.
He checkmated her, then made her play again.
Then again. So, she says to Ferdinand, who listens,
afraid to move, I learned early on how the game
is played, and how quickly a storm can arrive.
Make all the forecasts you like. Even on an island
this small, we live with unpredictable weather.
A faculty member at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Joseph Mills holds an endowed chair, the Susan Burress Wall Distinguished Professorship in the Humanities. He has published four collections of poetry with Press 53. His fifth collection, This Miraculous Turning, will be released in September 2014. More information is available at www.josephrobertmills.com and he blogs regularly at www.josephrobertmills.blogspot.com.