Rooks attack and defend in

their square world, Bishops

diagonal, Knights in brief


L-shaped leaps, great Queen

free in all directions to guard

her precious limping King,


one step north, south, east,

west, stirring only to survive,

three times the power of his


expendable Pawns advancing

always to die, their one retreat

beyond the checkered board.




Nels Hanson’s fiction received the San Francisco Foundation’s James D. Phelan Award and Pushcart nominations in 2010, 12, and 2014. Poems appeared in Word Riot, Oklahoma Review, Pacific Review and other magazines and received a 2014 Pushcart nomination, Sharkpack Review’s 2014 Prospero Prize and a 2015 Best of the Net nomination.

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  1. Pingback: Table of Contents, Issue 13 | Matter

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