Against this guy from Turkey. I don’t really know he was a guy
from Turkey. He just said he was a guy from Turkey.
He could’ve been some dude in his mom’s
basement in Terre Haute waiting for Armageddon
while pretending to be a guy from Turkey.
You never know. I do know is his screenname
was invincible, and that he was not invincible.
Not that I’m any good—
I’ve lost hundreds, probably thousands of games
to players with screennames like buttmilk and thundercheese2000.
I even lost to a 10-year old once at a chess club
that met at an Arby’s on Evansville’s east side—
that’s how god’s forsaken roll—
and I had to act like it didn’t bother me at all
while this kid, drinking Mellow Yellow and picking
through a mountain of ketchup and fries, blitzed me into a mess
from the very first move. It was like getting beat up
by a teddy bear. But here’s what happened with invincible—
I put him in check, and instead of saving his king
or just resigning, he logged off instead like a big bowl
of crybaby soup with way too much time left on the clock.
If he was a guy from Turkey, he disappeared
into 15 million other lives and the mystery of Istanbul
where you can walk from Asia to Europe while eating
a Big Mac. Once time ran off, the game declared:
You win by abandonment. Let me repeat that again:
You win. By ABANDONMENT. My first thought was: Of course!
My next was: What else could be won by abandonment?
Probably not parenting but how about The Powerball?
How about our jobs? That would give us a lot more
time on the big clock. I’d wrap my arms around
Julie’s belly where the kids used to live and try to stay high.
Matthew Guenette is the author of three books, including Vasectomania (University of Akron Press, 2017), which won the Edna Meudt Poetry Award from the Council of Wisconsin Writers; American Busboy (University of Akron Press, 2011); and Sudden Anthem (Dream Horse Press, 2008), which won the American Poetry Journal Book Prize. He has had residencies at Shake Rag Alley, Vermont Studio Center, and the Hessen-Wisconsin Literary Exchange. His poems have appeared in Southern Indiana Review, Forklift, Third Coast, Cream City Review, and numerous other magazines and journals. He currently teaches rhetoric and creative writing at Madison College, a two-year technical college in Madison, WI, where he lives with his wife, their two children, and a 20-pound cat named Butternut.