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.