Poem of the week: The Chess Player by Howard Altmann

A peaceful, lightly surreal scene is shadowed with wider foreboding

The Chess Player

They’ve left. They’ve all left.
The pigeon feeders have left.
The old men on the benches have left.
The white-gloved ladies with the Great Danes have left.
The lovers who thought about coming have left.
The man in the three-piece suit has left.
The man who was a three-piece band has left.
The man on the milkcrate with the bible has left.
Even the birds have left.
Now the trees are thinking about leaving too.
And the grass is trying to turn itself in.
Of course the buses no longer pass.
And the children no longer ask.
The air wants to go and is in discussions.
The clouds are trying to steer clear.
The sky is reaching for its hands.
Even the moon sees what’s going on.
But the stars remain in the dark.
As does the chess player.
Who sits with all his pieces
In position.

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