Charles Joseph Albert
I'd watch in disbelief the check and mate,
think through the game and curse to find—too late—
I'd bought disaster with the bishop's press.
In school, a "C" would cause the same malaise—
that sick regret: "I should have studied more."
And when a date would dump me at her door,
I'd wander home in a second-guessing daze.
And even when I won, each victory—
the wife, the kids, the job—all seemed to come
with further obligations, as though some
Cosmic Law made winning contradictory.
It's hard to lose with grace, but now I try—
the stocks that bombed, the failed manuscript—
my fault was cursing every time I slipped.
A win is just a loss postponed until you die.