Poetry | Platform games

You feel the ancient cobblestones under your work boots, steel toe for kicking evil away. In the dripping, humid passage, you see a flicker of red and white. A mushroom speaks, Thank you, Mario, but our princess is in another castle.

                A week ago, you were a plumber. Your hero’s journey was only the smile a frustrated burgher offered when the pipes ran clear. Home on time to eat a warm dinner in front of the news. Weekend with the phone off for clean hands on a Sunday. It was sly chance that made you something different. Fifty paces on, the air is dense and each breath thick as custard. Sweat collects over your moustache and you almost trip on another mushroom. This one has a voice too, Thank you, Mario, but the princess has rescued herself; all princesses are now self-rescuing.

              The chord of a story snaps around you. This or that, blue collar labourer or knight of the realm. Level up or drop the last life you have. When you sense a thinner atmosphere, when you can breathe the way you like, you make a choice for yourself. You pull the useless coins from your pocket and drop them in a rain of chimes and brass-sparks. One hits a third mushroom, who says, Thank you, Mario, but the old world is dying and the new world is struggling to be born; now is the time of monsters.

          You ignore all three mushrooms, there is a light ahead.

Alan Fyfe

Alan Fyfe is a Jewish writer originally from Mandurah, the unceded country of the Binjareb Nation, whose verse and prose can be found in Westerly, Overland, Australian Poetry Journal and Cottonmouth. He was an inaugural editor of UWA creative writing journal Trove and a prose editor for the American web journal, Unlikely Stories. His first novel, T, published by Transit Lounge in September 2022. Alan is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Western Australia, where he is writing a novel in chiastic structure.

More by Alan Fyfe ›

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