by Rion Amilcar Scott
(from the collection Insurrections)
In my eleventh year, my father taught me defeat.
I sat with my back pressed on that old, scratchy brown couch. Tom chased Jerry across the television screen and then the image dissolved into a white dot in the center. I turned to see my father holding the remote control in one hand and a crumpled cloth cradled in the crook of his other arm.
What are you doing with that rag, Daddy? I asked.
It’s not a rag, girl, he said. It’s a mat.
He unfurled the dirty checkered mat onto the coffee table and dropped a handful of chipped and faded black chess pieces in front of me. He started setting up the white ones without looking at me. I tilted my head, watching my father curiously.
Read the full story here: 202 Checkmates