Ryan Bender-Murphy

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.