The game

A woman in a man's game,
but the best
that they could field.
I'd heard of her but not
sat opposite before.
I never got
the chance to study her technique,
to test
her face for unintended clues.
The rest
closed round,
their bird necks craned to snatch at what
chewed morsels drop from mother's beak.
They've got
no other taste of life outside the nest.

I pity them,
their vision's all the game.
Yet not as players,
only second hand.
And in her face
I saw she thought the same
a shared contempt
together we would stand
the ring of birds would soon be doubly screwed.

But I misread, and lost all to the brood.