Your Turn
by Alexandra Oliver


Your Turn
(For G.B)

Dad liked games with master in the title:
Mastermind, (where players had to guess
the colours of a screened-off row of brittle
plastic pegs. In half a minute (less!)

he broke the code, being blessed with a knack
for knowing what particulars stay hidden—
its origins in algorithm, luck,
and serving in Intelligence for Britain).

And Parker Brothers’ Masterpiece (which fanned
the art collector’s lust. An auctioneer
would take our bids. We clamoured, cash in hand,
for treasures, over Van Gogh’s board-flat stare.

He redesigned his background and his class
through stacking up on Hopper, Blume, and Wood,
alertly sensing what one could possess
securely, and which beauty was a fraud).

Now he’s gone, it’s my turn to convey
to you that our survival’s tied to guessing,
knowing what abundance fools the eye
and keeping at it when the rules go missing.

From CNQ 95, The Games Issue (Spring 2016)

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