i’m going for the king,
but you won’t let me in.
you line up your soldiers,
the children you will sacrifice,
the ones who glide, sail in like messengers.

i try to advance,
but you block me,
take pieces away.

i advance through empty space again,
wounded and weaker, but still focused
on that lone token,
that one piece.

you are too smart for me.

the horsemen wait in the dark,
quick to pounce on my pawns.

there is no bloodshed
on our white and black battlefield,
just advance, retreat,
the severance, the pieces taken
and the final word i speak from my dry mouth.


~ Alexis Kienlen

Alexis Kienlen is the author of two poetry collections She Dreams in Red and 13. She is also a journalist and fiction writer and currently works as a reporter for Alberta Farmer. She holds an Honours degree in International Studies from the University of Saskatchewan and a Graduate Diploma in Journalism from Concordia University. Originally from Saskatoon, Alexis has lived in numerous Canadian cities and currently makes her home in Edmonton.

Alexis will be reading at the Edmonton “Balanced Brunch” event on April 29. We hope to see you at the Fort Saskatchewan Public Library.

Read more of Alexis Kienlen’s poetry:
the old indian and the coat
portrait of the poet
South to North Saskatchewan

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