The Politics of Lonely

We played the game of whose body would last longer
unintruded upon on their apartment floor, of how many days

one could go, or really not go, before being found out,
before their game of hide and seek ended abruptly. We played

the game of who would get called first, of how the paramedics
would scroll through our phones, playing Russian roulette

with what number to unload. We played the game of what songs
they could play at our wake, what psalms would hang

from the mouths of the congregation, how neither
one of us were religious but we had these answers

on speed dial. We played the game of how this would happen
and then the game of how it would not. We even played the game

where we wrapped each other in blankets and watched
shooting stars from the roof. I took out the telescope

my parents got me in fifth grade and we could see the smallest things
the light reflected from distant suns back into our eyes.

We played the game where we decided that this wasn’t a game
that strangers should play. Then we played it again.


Eli Karren is a storyteller, poet, and second grade teacher currently residing in Austin, TX. He was the 2017 recipient of the Benjamin C. Wainwright poetry prize and has had his works appear in Redlands Review, Geometry Magazine, and In Layman’s Terms. His work is also forthcoming in Turn it Up: Poetry in Music from Jazz to Hip Hop.