for the first two days my thumbs ached to find the right timing,
jump up past the pair waddling toward me, their brows pinching
disappointment, looking down at me over their beaks
the same way you did me when I found an open condom
underneath the Nintendo, its unused tip bouncing back into place like a
button on our joystick, a goomba resetting itself back to start
you always found the slide down more satisfying
those slick movements of pixels, the delighted collection of coins
from the under your father’s bed to buy the next comic or candy
so it was only a small shock to see that most of your teeth had fallen out,
college a distant dream, the sound of stasis, our small town,
drumming in your ears like a turtle’s shell spinning back and forth across the screen
we tried the cheat codes on everything, just to see if something would happen.
one day, you sold off your games and console looking back over where we’d been
as one looks through a stranger trying to cut the distance between A and B.
Jared Beloff is a teacher and poet who lives in Queens, NY with his wife and two daughters. You can find his work in Contrary Magazine, The Westchester Review, Gyroscope Review and elsewhere. You can find him online at www.jaredbeloff.com. Follow him on twitter @read_instead.