January 27, 2022

How Do We Checkmate the Virus?

Josie Rose Embleton

PoemChess, 2021

A meditation on the impact of the global virus, this poem attempts to encompass the personal and popular experience of the pandemic using the metaphor of a chess game. It plays with themes of light, intricacy, nature, loss and isolation with an overarching preoccupation with darkness and dawn. One being the virus and the other being humanity, the poem explores the ongoing ‘chess’ battle between the two players; a battle that is both deadly, claiming pieces from the board, but also complicated, lengthy and strategic. The poem reaches its optimistic denouement with a final ‘checkmate’ from our side of the board but invites readers to question, it is ever truly possible to checkmate the virus?