Four generations have played this game,
Fifty summers on the pond,
Colored pegs into holes on a cardboard grid—
Five in a row wins,
A premium on discerning patterns
In a thick maze of yellow, red,
Black and teal—
Checkers without jumping.
I’ve searched for years,
Church fairs, eBay,
To replace the battered box,
Parker Brothers’ less fruitful venture.
Could we be the only players left?
My father taught me the secret
(Watch for three in a row),
Could still play
When he could not do other things.
But for years, until not long ago,
I was the acknowledged champ—
Shall we play another—
Taught five grandchildren the game.
Philip won again this year,
But not by much.
Robert Demaree, a retired educator, is the author of four collections of poems, including Mileposts (2009), published by Beech River Books. He has had almost 600 poems published in 125 periodicals, including The Aurorean, Avocet, Cold Mountain Review, Dead Snakes, Foliate Oak, Louisiana Review, Louisville Review, miller’s pond, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Tipton Poetry Journal and in the 2008 and 2010 editions of The Poets’ Guide to New Hampshire. He lives in Wolfeboro, N.H., and Burlington, N.C.