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Fletcher in black

Eyewear has recently encountered the work of the young London-based poet, Sarah Fletcher, and is glad to feature a poem of hers here today.  Fletcher was born in America but grew up in the UK, where she is currently studying English at Durham University. She's been writing professionally for many years, making her debut at 14 in The London Magazine, and has since been published in a variety of places. She is a twice-time recipient of The Christopher Tower Poetry Prize in 2012 and 2013 (placing first, and then second). In 2012, she was a Foyle Young Poet of the Year and commended for The Times Stephen Spender Prize of Poetry in Translation. She has read at Royal Festival Hall, The Institute of Contemporary Arts, and Trafalgar Square. During the 2012 Olympics, she and 10 other poets worked with Jacob Sam-La Rose to construct a poem that was displayed at Olympic Park. She is a Poetry Editor for The Adroit Journal, where she runs The Adroit Journal Editing Service and lectures during The Adroit Journal Summer Workshop.

On Playing Chess With You At 8 Am 

Sometimes there is absurdity. This morning
your pajama trousers are half flannel, half
ocean. Your torso arches over the game board 

like a wave about to break. Your finger
holds the tip of your bishop gently
as you'd hold a nipple. My vision 

through my sleep-eye tells me the checkerboard 
is a graph-frame of Colorados (the squarest state). 
I remember you told me relationships 

are shaped like perfect squares so I look up at you 
and am disappointed to find that you don't look like
Colorado. The hollowed O's of the state's name

may resemble your cheeks but I see
you without right angles, in three syllables.
I see you as a Dakota or Montana, as phonetic.  

Your rooks invade my side, the piece
I swore was called "The Castle."
I move the Knight, the piece that looks

most like Louisiana. My face glazed
before coffee, I tell you about the squares
and you say you are glad I'm made of curves

and then take my queen and call me one.
Next, you thank God we are in England, where
everything is shaped like a pawn.

poem by Sarah Fletcher, copyright 2013.


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