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All in a Day's Work

Pawn to King Four. A standard opening

a nonchalant iambic hop, finger on clock

eyes raised cat-like at the moon

or skip-jump nimble-pawed to the

next simultaneous board, a quick succession

of soft-syllable jumps, finger again on clock

nimble-toed repetition, not yet grand master

poetry but developing, thinking of snakes

and ladders, one small step for cat-kind


At the next table an old octopus sneers

from his watery bifocals, cigar in one tentacle

glass of blended ink in another, he tries to

answer Felix: Knight takes Bishop as

en passant a drop of whiskey falls between

the black and white soldiers sidelined

into spectatorship. Check. With an artful

tentacle-entwined clock punch

one small stab for Octopussy – on to table 007


Now Felix, too fast to figure out his jeer

returning agile-ever from table 49

glancing not at Humphrey Bogart, he extracts

a tiny hypodermic from back pocket, squirts

old smoky-face between the eyes and while

he’s flailing for a handkerchief, whips his

queen across the diagonal. Check and check

again. Check mate. Thank you Bobby sorry

Boris, punch clock one last time, free verse

Felix grins his alliteration-loaded feline grin


One small step for cat-kind, nimble-pawed

grand master.  All in a day’s work

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© Johnmichael Simon



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