Only the Dead Know Albany
poems by Alan Catlin

"Queen's Gambit"

The opening line
always was, “Got
a light?” The ones
that did leaned in
close as she cupped
her hands around
the flame, as she
said how much
the full ride would
cost for a bareback
trip with frills and she
had lots of takers
even if she looked
to be a half-dead
teen angel whose
eyes were as hard
as her grave marker;
one date already
carved, the other
of the way done.