This poem won Second place in the 2013 2-Day Poem Contest

i. gambit


the rags still half-soaked with turpentine and resignation

petal the floor beside an antique dresser or

perhaps contentious puddle of cooking oil slowly dripping

down from the white stove

your cat interrupting a candle

the cigarette that slept in my mouth

the handfuls of scrubby wires left humming in the walls


ii. battery


ash on the floor in a halo of char and shreds of tobacco crunched under bare feet

(we run from red in the walls, grab the photo albums or your cat)

flame eats the pile of newspapers that had bundled our dishes and

floral wallpaper weeping with age

we waltz with its powdered wig of smoke

as one vinyl record pours blackly to the floor

the fire is white bright and gilt rococo swirls


iii. poisoned pawn


the heat and its black venom cloud reach our aquarium

milky belly of the last little neon protruding

in a languid bob from warm water

and an angry, strangled sound from the cat

bewildered by all of the death, things burst they shiver and snap,

I reach for my jacket, slow fumble with shoelaces and

choose instead the hasty exit, hand to door

dusty carpets and dry wood sacrificed to a rush of oxygen

this beast pulls itself from the air

seizing my blunder


iv. luft


if not the hall, then what?

tie the sheets together

a desperate flailing trapeze act from

the fourth storey window or else

the closet


breathless relish in the small protected square


v. checkmate


sententious fire waves its truth at my eyes and ears

speaks sparsely, with pop and crack

hiss and flicker

pointed licks of flame

sweep through rank and file until

it finds me at D8 and captures the door

so red has won

but where are you

the queen

and where is the cat

Published online June 28 2013.

Sile Englert is slightly mad. The CV2 2-Day Poem Contest is an annual part of her self-medication through writing. Some of her words seem to have snuck into magazines and literary journals in Canada, the U.S. and Ireland. She lives in the other London (Canada) with her wife, two smaller humans and a dog. She has no cat.

This poem was a winner in CV2’s annual 2-Day Poem Contest. Every April, CV2 challenges players to create a new original poem that uses all 10 words of our choosing. It’s poetry under pressure for prizes, publication, and personal bests. Learn how to sign up for the next 2-Day Poem Contest.

The Open Issue cover image

This piece was published in ‘The Open Issue,’ the Fall 2013 issue of CV2.

Get more great poetry, interviews, and reviews delivered straight to your door four times a year. Subscribe now.