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Check, Mate | Laura McDermott Matheric

Your mind-fuck questions

demand answers without sourcing

the heart’s own database,

bypassing what you really want to know.


Is your chess gambit

for a win or stalemate?


When you asked if I think

men and women can just be friends,

you wrapped your words

like clever packages.



was this question

an opening salvo

or a door closing?


All that pulls pushes,

pushes and pulls,

pushes towards you

as it pulls from me –

an unbalanced exchange.


Are you really wanting to know if I think

you and I can be just friends? Or is this

an insinuation of desire that parallels

my sleepless nights, a longing to further complicate

all that’s complicated?


Our worlds, in separate orbits,

spin in trajectories mapped to collide.


It’s not a


of can

but could

or should.


If you source your heart’s own database,

you’ll find the heart of my answer there


orbiting together, entrained,

your next words

change every coming move.


Laura McDermott Matheric's first book of poetry, Visions on Alligator Alley was published by Lominy Books in 2015. Her work has been featured in publications such as The Dewdrop and Closed Eye Open. A Professor of English, Laura regularly teaches writing workshops and literature courses at Broward College and throughout the community. She was appointed the first Poet Laureate of the City of Coconut Creek in 2022, the first of any municipality in Broward County, Florida, furthering her efforts to support growth in education, the arts, and the community. Currently, Laura is pursuing her Ph.D. in Higher Educational Leadership and Research Methodology from Florida Atlantic University.



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