Allies

BY thomas nowak


At our spawn point we talked to each other.
Because of the darkness. We opened our eyes
together. You threw me the potions. I slew
the creatures. Your trumpet leaned against
the wall. My clarinet was still in the case.
We didn’t practice, but we saved Tristram
from the underworld. It was ready to swallow
the whole town.

***

I have been looking for you in Demacia, in
Bilgewater, in Ionia. I have been to the Crystal
Scar, the Twisted Treeline, and Summoner’s
Rift. I didn’t know it was because you finally
got promoted to working in the pharmacy. We
are happy for you, but we need your ninja
to hold back the minions up north, and to
appear from nowhere to save us down south. 
Did you even think of how many times
we would die while you answered the phone
and filled prescriptions?

***

The room at the top of the stairs became our
bridge. My mother had an understanding
of this. She let us hang up Christmas lights
around the window and would interrupt us,
“Commanders, dinner is waiting in the dining
hall,” or “Captain, you need to dock so you can
clean the lavatory.” Her father got sick, all our
navigation systems and lights were moved into
the basement. He had to sleep in our bridge. 
My grandfather died in our bridge. I am too
afraid to set up our command station
elsewhere. You will have to do the shooting. I
am dead weight, so I sat down so that you
could hold alt and sprint to the extraction
point. You were supposed to leave me. But
you pressed e. You carried me.

***

You were drunk when we had to launch
that boulder. I didn’t know you had already
emptied a bottle, so I trusted you and your C4,
but your body was already ragdolling and
the boulder smashed against arms, head, what
used to be a backpack of guns and other things
dear to us. I trusted your spear hand and
shield. You were drunk when I let you cover
my descent into enemy territory; either of us
could have fallen from the rafters of that
bridge. When the zerglings overran my city,
could you hear the marines screaming. Did you
listen for the low bass of the dragon fire on
flesh. Did you see the teeth of the chainsaw
flash by the light. I almost cried in the flickering.

***

We talk about your wedding in between
digging the irrigation ditches for our city. You
are considering the venue with the dance floor
that lights up, but I don’t have time to look
at the pictures, because a goblin army is
approaching from the east. We are all fighting
them off when Puck asks about your fiancé.
She is asleep, your screen, glowing.

***

I have walked more places with him than I have
with myself. I don’t look at him when we
are walking towards castles, or hostage
situations, or the ocean. We just know to set up
the siege ladders, go through the vents. I know
that he has an extra boat in his inventory
to escape this ice. We don’t look back either.
The corpses of our past will fade as we draw in
new distance. The levels of our youth are no longer
supported in this version. We didn’t even save
our progress.

 

Thomas reads "Allies"


Thomas Nowak holds an MFA in poetry from Columbia College Chicago.  His poems have recently appeared in Arsenic Lobster and apt issue 3.  He now lives in the Chicago suburbs with his partner and their dog.  He just finished Bioshock Infinite and implores you to brush up on your astrophysics and play it.