Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Ten Ways to Play Solitaire By Eric Chiles

There's this and the deck of cards on

the table offering ways to spend some time

with ironic games such as "Betrothal"

which the book says is rarely consummated.

But if you’re tired, simply take a nap

and play the solitary game of dreams.

Or if you’re restless, then take a walk,

exploring a quiet stretch of woods,

or get the keys and drive down twisting

roads, wasting gas while your thoughts

ramble until you wander home late at

night for a takeout Chinese dinner date

eaten alone watching reruns in the dark.

And when sleep still won’t come, there’s the

computer screen with the online casino

or the digital illusion of connectivity.

The next day, zombified, you sit

silently through a team meeting in a daze.

Afterward you can’t remember a thing

that was said. And so it goes every day,

for months and years, cards piling up

on the waste pile of detachment until

you’ve run through the deck and what's

left is the black king buried by himself.

After a newspaper career, Eric Chiles began teaching writing and journalism at colleges in eastern Pennsylvania. He is the author of the chapbook "Caught in Between," and his poetry has appeared in Allegro, Blue Collar Review, Chiron Review, Main Street Rag, Plainsongs, Rattle, and elsewhere.