Adam teaches me how to play chess, to move
the rook from side to side, the knight across
and one over, the queen where she wants,
as long as she moves in a straight line.
He never lets me win. We stay up late,
watch Gone with the Wind,
call to check the time, the weather, to hear
the robot read the game clock.
Pawns, Adam tells me, move forward one square at a time,
except on the first move, and they take from the side.
I ask him to play my Step by Step tape.
Instead he plays Grateful Dead records
while I play Super Mario Brothers
and he drinks his father’s vodka below the line.
Captured, he gains a story—divorce, drugs,
boredom, set pieces.
But not the one about palming me below the surf,
holding my hand in the back of the station wagon,
swerving down the Carolina beach, this queen and I,
fake Yankee accents, kicking sand castles.
Will Stockton teaches English at Clemson University. With D. Gilson, he is the author of Crush and Gay Boys Write Straight Porn. His poems have appeared in journals including Assaracus, Bloom, Folio, Fourth River, PANK, and Weave.