Ryan Bender-Murphy

Electronics Store

Snow coats the field of computers.

Workers fold trees out of storage bunkers, creeping
along the most traveled customer routes.

My sled dogs outwit quicksand
left by pesky managers, but my laptop
shakes more and more
as disease spreads.

Warning cannons fire once
the register’s turrets come into view,
past slush and ice, past canyons filled
with frozen bones.

Tech support is not yet servicing machines here.
Instead they’re renting homes along the bloated
sales staff, who have been scarfing down
many lunches worth of Chinese food.

I take pictures of them, maybe for later
consideration, maybe just because,
and they throw me
to where deer roam along river rocks.

Hours pass
before I wake from the fall; the white animal hairs
turn orange in a sunset
of overhead fluorescence.

During evening
no screens are in sight,
so I set the deer’s tails on fire and cook their meat.

I stack rocks to shield from gusts kicking up
loose tree limbs and spare parts of equipment.

To shield from the sales staff that has reappeared
before me and keeps saying
I’m their most loyal customer.

Ryan Bender-Murphy lives in Austin, TX, and teaches critical reading and writing skills to high school students. He has work published in Anti-, Dark Sky, Phantom Limb, NAP, and elsewhere.


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