• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 10
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This old game of playing the hand I’m dealt—I know
its rules well. Slow parting of doors, the great reveal—

I stifle a smile. You think you can shock me with
a combat pack, slumped ominously on linoleum floors?

I'm talking to you, whoever is running this simulation.
You should know better—I’ve been a nomad all my life,

stripped of denomination, I belong to no land—
a nameless entity. Three moons, and I’ll embrace

any mound of earth as home. I will readily board
this carriage, pick up these unfamiliar props, stare

at the blankness of its bleached light. Throw me amongst
overgrown brush and I will shear close, seeking the scalp

of the earth, peeling away to elusive layers of soil till I find
a bed of loam to lay my head on. Day and night, hold no fear,

no phantoms here, just whispers in my skull saying this
obstacle course could be my last. But I’ve been there before—

the hollows, the inflammable hoops, hail of fiery quartz.
Still standing, my friend, still standing. But you already

know that, don’t you? Now that we have that out of the way,
let the doors close. No surreal assemblage can derail me now.

Par for the course. I’m walking in. Let your amusement begin.