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I don’t remember fighting over first player. I remember needing
more controllers,
quicker reflexes,
a softer excitement
/thicker walls (whichever lets mom sleep).

You remember
most of the combos,
cheat codes,
and having to hide in the bathroom (the only door with a lock).

I try to be a good man. It’s arguable if I’m much of either. I’m known to breathe vitriol — sparks through yellowed filters, but maybe it’s the dying reflex of withered parts. It’s a measure of remorse. It’s passed.

I remember how tall you looked as I sat, overburdened, cowering spine, a shallow body nursing tethered charges. Never one to twist limbs, you stood present, speechless and paused. You drew plain pictures in the tall grass until my legs worked, and we walked. Back to disconnects. And openness.  I’m fortunate, in recent years, to have cut back on the habit of locked doors and hiding places.

I don’t know that you remember.

It’s just
I’m always trying to stay on track,
and some days what keeps me there
is a little bit of multiplayer
and some backbone.

Photo ©Julie Anderson All Rights Reserved

James Wolf

James Wolf is an aspiring teacher from Maryland’s eastern shore. He works as an assistant in a Pre-K classroom, using the quiet of naptime as an excuse to write things in the dark. His work has been featured in GFT Presents: One in Four, Sixfold, and Gyroscope Review, and is forthcoming in Vine Leaves Literary Journal.

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