Chess Sans Voir
Sa’id envisions lines in the sand.
The pieces are not yet framed in glass.
Squatting young in his pastiche of robes,
He must improvise.
He closes his eyes.
Anything he may touch with
His mind becomes magic.
His closed lids unveil his opponent,
A Gotama, ascetic and sockless,
This Buddha disdains all play.
Sa’id opens the game with a squelch of hot wind,
Sweeping a future queen from the Tigris to the Ganges.
The Gotama sighs eternally…
And a flight of Blue Whales dream themselves
Into the whalesong night skies of the game.
They soar observantly, mooing
Their slumbering secrets and wishes.
Sa’id drinks the seaspray of wisdom.
But the Gotama refuses all movement.
His pawns stand inert and unflinching.
Sa’id overlooks his opponent’s mute cheat,
And al-Hajjaj, his knight-turned-nemesis,
Checks him by cheek to his Shamshir’s edge.
Genuflect, Sa'id erupts laughter,
“I will replace your Dunya with a
A nomadic spider tumbles down the tenement dunes,
Brushing Sa’id’s naked feet with a disenchanting fuzz.
Sa’id hops up as the desert cats hungrily meow,
And the drops of milky starlight are no longer imagined.