by Rachel Patterson

____________-- for Steven and Noah Widzer

Near the end, you and Noah
played chess. You taught him how.
He loved you so, hunched
over the board, your visible spine,
your pale face warped
in contemplation. Chess
is war.

You started that last game, but
never finished.
After you were gone, he glued
each piece where it stood,
a grieving snapshot,
like the black-and-white photograph of
your parents, naked, crying,
the sky full of smoke,
the SS men with their pointy shoes

He studied the board for days,
weeks, meticulous. Your boys were
born engineers. He calculated
every possible outcome. When
he told me months later
what he had done, he laughed,
his black eyes glazed, and he said
that you had won.

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