And When Ms. Pac-Man Eats All the Cherries, and When the Dentist Asks Me to Spit into the Bowl

Allyson Boggess

The arcade table in the corner of the waiting room
is rigged to work for free, no quarters necessary—

all we need is time before the hygienist
sticks her head through the door, calls the name.

Dear sister, I will fight you for control
of the game because I am always first

to take the mouthful of polish.
They ask which flavor

and I say mint please
but I never get it. I get the least-loved

fruit punch and an apology—
we are out of mint.

And when you are out there fleeing ghosts,
scoring points, I am in the chair

with my mouth open,
staring at the reflection in his glasses.