It’s Friday night.
The fire-lighter’s back.
He’s had a drink.
With the skill of a god
he makes new life in the grate.
She’s asleep, perhaps,
in the tie-me-down bed
but she sparks when the cap
of his boot strikes the stair.
She scents his smoky finger-pads,
his malted breath.
That’s when that other child
who lives inside
A Game of Chess
Bearing the arms of a mother’s distant cousin
a black knight rides in,
his visor a camera of forbidden angles
focused on a blue poplin skirt.
The girl has put her trust in the Queen
who isn’t home.
Not a tear from her fixed doll-eye as the knight
lifts, probes, clicks the shutter.
Much later on she pours her guilt
into the Queen’s red ear,
learns that the king is not to be told,
the knight not checked.
Hilary Hares lives in Farnham, Surrey and her poems have found homes online and in print including Ink, Sweat & Tears, The Interpreter’s House, Magma and South. She has an MA in Poetry from Manchester Metropolitan University and her collection, A Butterfly Lands on the Moon is sold in support of Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice Care.