The Game or One of its Many Variants

by Chris Emslie

for Kat

It’s so hard to dress these branches in adventure

Our hands are occupied     signalling from the

hillside                      This is a digital catastrophe big as

a city block                imported from a Japanese

movie             Dear girl no longer on fire who

authorised that flightpath forever arrowing your

childhood?                We can build microcosms

in our smoky backyards      and burn whatever

silence the night leaves behind  It’s not the

falling debris that bothers me     We’re well

versed in the art of Tetris  but just say some-

thing up there is dropping all these cinderblocks

Wouldn’t you call that God?                      Or possibly

we are waiting                     for a flash of purple in the

rear-view mirror                   some sign that we

surpassed expectation                   This is real

as the fire no longer enamoured with our limbs

This is a colour scheme     to designate real-

ness               like how you know what I mean

when I keep insisting it’s dangerous to go alone


Chris Emslie is assistant editor at ILK journal. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Birdfeast, > kill author and the Lambda Literary Review, among others. He lives in Scotland and is best at the games he is too shy to play.