Chess Players

Losing my footing in front of the chess players belly laughing beside the waist-high chess pieces, a triangle of brick departing from the stairs under the trees of the make-shift mall arena, there were seagulls, I remember, their cry rotates round the head, a brutal halo to a fragile constitution or those sensitive to even the mildest noise pollution. Not the men at the chess board. Their carved lines from 9am to 4pm. Do they bet money? Who can tell, their language is foreign, a man in gruff jeans, stains folded in, disputes the previous move, he’ll dispute your shoes if you get close enough, the chalk-white gulls dive for a cheeseburger crust, the addicted congregate outside the mall entrance. One Thursday the players are gone. The chess board is broken up, yellow vested men with jack hammers shatter the bricks. I wonder where the men went, one Monday out running I see the same stained jeans in a park by the sea playing lawn bowls with a group of men. A beer, a cigarette in the hand, disputing the last throw.

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