the quiet game

who talks first when our throats
are mermaid purses? the sting rays
flock at our feet like tossed 
pages of music. i bite my tongue off
& watch as it wriggles off to become 
a salamander. we all want to win
so bad. i never tell you about
the tree at the playground 
or the black rat snake. the snapping turtle
in the middle of the road who we tried
to save but devoured our fingers. instead
i send those stories to become burn piles
in the pit of my stomach. i tell myself
who hasn't be destroy just a little bit?
our bodies have a way of getting in the way.
a bulldozer knocks over a monument
to the last god we were trying
to resurrect. he is not coming back.
instead, we will have empty televisions
& a moment of silence that fills 
with ants. how do you call your dead?
i pick flowers & wait for ghosts to spill
from their split necks. i am determined
to win this game or else i am determined to
become a gargolye. i am guarding nothing
but the skeleton of an old promise
no one can remember. we eat
a plate of overripe plums using
only our eyes. i can keep this up
forever. can you? i buy a puppet.
the puppet screams, "the world
will be over in ten years!" i sew 
the puppet's mouth shut. i tell him,
"we are not supposed to talk.
we are still playing."

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