his opening move was bold and drew her into the game
but love flares in unexpected ways
and a fair number of pawns were cleared out early on
piled like wish bones on the sidelines

she advanced a black bishop putting his white knight in jeopardy
he retreated his knight in an easy move and while avoiding eye contact, reached out to touch her hand
she withdrew her hand and charged her bishop ahead, chasing his knight

he made promises and she listened
but she did not change her position and found her Queen was blocked
by her own entourage, essentially trapped
the squares of their life did not move beyond the grid
were all marriages a tornado of limited moves?

his rook swept forward and captured her last bishop
she knew there would be no reparation
and retracted her knight

in a surprise move he took her Queen
she reflected back to the beginning, wondering if she had made the right move

he spoke less since everything he said was wrong
and she felt as helpless as her impounded Queen
the board grew cold, the mean lines cutting her off from him

he checked her king
then she checked his
knights jumped around the board in vain
castles and bishops drew lines that were erased
and drawn again

in desperation she marched a pawn forward in baby steps
bit her tongue and prayed
hoping to reach the Other Side, to win her Queen back

he played her, ignoring the pawn, letting her have the advantage
it was a simple move, yet it had the power to overcome blockades
…if he is not the Enemy, then who is he?

this time, she did not move her hand away when he reached over
her pawn reached the 8th row, winning her own Queen back
from this vantage point she saw past the black and white limits she had built to cut him out

64 squares and so many combinations
compromise is not a tactic of chess, but it is one of marriage
forgiveness is not a tactic of war
but it is a tactic of Love

a stalemate is a dead end of ideas
we are not just one dimensional pieces
we can let go of the boxed-in expectations built in our heads
we can change the rules
of our game

he castled his rook with his King
so that his white King now faced her black Queen
square to square
eye to eye.
then she saw
in spite of their battles

she was still his Queen
and he would always be
her King

Collecting Clowns for the Prince
by Lila Afiouni – see more of Lila’s art at: http://www.lilaafiouni.com/