A few years ago I published the first half of this poem–although I wrote it too many years ago to count. For a finale in my creative writing class, we all wrote our own ‘game’ poems and I decided it was a good time to add a little more to mine. It is not finished. If you haven’t read Play Again?, I would read it first.

This was also a Poetry Poker deal: stood, cluster, desire, captive, stop, long, belief


NEW GAME…I put my quarters in and came alive.

Level 4. Back into the fairy tree.
The frog was gone and in his
place stood a cluster of nymphs
with hair to their waists and robes of desire.
“Come be our captive.”
They waved me on toward a fire.
“Burn with us.” I wanted to be someplace warm
and the flames felt enticing, but before
I stepped inside, a dragon stopped
to give me a ride to nowhere. Bye-bye,
I waved to the nymphs as the dragon
beat his wings into the blue
of a pixelated video game sky.

Level 5. We made it by skipping the gate
and the cliff and soaring to a city
on the other side of the abyss.
It hadn’t been a long ride,
just a shortcut I had missed
the first time that I tried.
The dragon dropped me
on a tower and I slid
to my death. One life blinked out
and I was kicked back to the gate
where the cliff gaped wide. “Nice to see you,
my pretty,” the fairy queen smiled. “Did you think
it would be that easy to try again?”
She waved her wand and the air tasted sweet.
A floral scent mixed with pride and I
breathed deeply until I saw
the shadowman die. “What is it?’
I asked and a life counted down.
“It’s hope and belief and foolish dreams,”
taunted the voice of the fairy queen.
Only one life left and no bonus round in sight, so I
held my breath and put up a fight.
She managed to fade before my sword cut
through, but her soul left a nick in my blade.
Cheater. There’s no way to win if she won’t play
By any rules. But at least for now she was
out of my way. I stepped on a star
And the dragon flew back…

To be continued…

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