Oct/Nov 2012 Poetry

From Euclid Creek Book Two

by Michael Ceraolo

From Euclid Creek Book Two

The summer of 1972,
at its appointed time on almost a whirlwind:
the sixty-mile-per-hour winds of Tropical Storm Agnes,
affecting us here hundreds of miles away
from where she sat off Chesapeake Bay,
bringing temperatures down twenty degrees
from where they would normally be,
rain on us for several days,
the area's creeks and streams and rivers
to overflow their banks into basements
of houses built on floodplains,
the storm spared us
                              the greater death and destruction
of those who were closer to it
It was also the summer
                                   the so-called Cold War
was fought by proxy on a chessboard in Iceland,
in a match between American individual genius
and Soviet automatonism
                                      (no matter
that the genius was a madman
and the automaton human;
didn't have to actually fit the role
assigned by Cold Warriors)
                                       Chess notation
became a regular feature on newspaper front pages
and the network's nightly newscasts,
people were even seen playing chess in public
I was one of those people,
with a classmate who lived one street away
on evenings when I wasn't playing baseball,
even playing on evenings after I had played baseball,
sitting on the stone steps to our front porch
and playing with a cardboard board and plastic pieces,
neither of us a much better player than the other
The chess championship and the summer
would both end around Labor Day,
the supposed good guy winning the title
My chess partner and I had not been close friends before,
and wouldn't be close friends after school started,
and we would lose track of each other entirely
the next year when we started high school

easy to do in a class of over seven hundred),
and haven't seen each other since—


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