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©2018 Barren Magazine. An Alt.Lit Introspective.

Pacman at the Arcade Casino


by Tyler Howell

The gamblin’ Granny
next to me pulls
levers lets the
wheels roll, smack
BAR BAR BAR
or the cherries
she prays for.

My cherries are
in the maze. Let
me strain my hands
and run from ghosts
lock my knees while
she sinks in her seat.

The slot’s spin pulls
her pupils in, its waterfalls
pour from blocks spilling
coins in her lap leaving
bruises on her thighs.

Her change equals chance.
My quarters equals points,
my name in pixels.
The bank account folds

Pacman melts into the ghost
turns inside out and whispers
Game Over behind the screen
begs for credits
for more lives.

Grandma begs for coins
for one more spin for
gas money to pay for the ride home.

Header photograph © Corina Orphanou.

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