Amy Barone


It’s all in the timing.
You have to keep the game in play as long as possible.
Gauge your investments—coin gets eaten fast.

Most times, what you see is what you get.
Unless you’re hiding under a glass dome like I used to do.
I’d let them tilt me too low, bump me too hard.

Then I learned to trap them—became an expert
at manipulating steel balls, holding them in place
using my brain, not my hips.

So they would nudge harder and get locked out.
I scored my way into multiple replays.
Balls piled up in the drain.

Now I’m relaxing, resting my sharpened flippers.
Anticipating my next visit to the arcade.

Amy Barone’s new poetry collection, We Became Summer, from New York Quarterly Books, was released in early 2018. She wrote chapbooks Kamikaze Dance (Finishing Line Press) and Views from the Driveway (Foothills Publishing.) Barone’s poetry appears in Café Review, Paterson Literary Review, Sensitive Skin, and Standpoint (UK.) She lives in NYC.