Arcade

2014-10-21 copy
The room is dark and hot with sweat. A girl
is standing near a boy who’s cursing fire,
his fingers groping as they slap and whirl
about the buttons. Although his eyes are tired,

he’s scared to blink. His hips sway heavily,
hypnotically, in time with flashing blue and red,
bursts of static white. The game is simple: kill every-
thing. The girl beside him turns away and says

Let’s go, scratching his neck slowly. He yells
God dammit, kicks the machine, and grabs his last
remaining coin. She leaves, the sound of mortar shells
exploding in her wake. Toward the door, she’ll go past

other boys like him: their bodies tilted, a gangly row
of jeans and clumsy hands, crying out Oh please, Oh no.