CHECKMATE

by Luke Otley

Playing chess;
I feel human, in the animal sense,
I feel my tendons grinding and stretching-
I am predictable, my pupils dilate
and my brow tingles-
I feel consciousness, I feel behind myself
watching my brain in flesh.
I see my brain for what it is-
an underused muscle, twitching
and twerking to a thud thud thud
and when I play chess
my apish fingers knock together, my arrogance exposed-
there’s hair on my knuckles,
my jewellery feels heavy, pointless
as all the sneers I ever sneered,
futile as the faces I show the mirror
in quest of my “most attractive angle”-
I am hollow as the last smart remark
I squawked
alone
and my King is trapped.