William Fargason


While Playing World of Warcraft, I Can’t Stop Thinking of Death

When I get the news that you died, I should be

collecting pelts in Zuldazar for the Nesingwary Expedition,

I have a quest, there is a clear goal, I can do this—


but I can’t stop thinking how death came to you as it will come

for me, as you taught me, these are the roles we play. I am

a level 120 Human Warrior, which is impressive


to no one but me, my armor is silver like your hair,

reflecting the artificial light off the artificial metal, and even though

I should be questing I am instead thinking of when you


invited me for a glass of Bordeaux at the bar, and I told you

I couldn’t drink because of my meds, and you asked

for your head? pointing with your finger to your own,


and so you ordered me a Coke instead, and you knew,

you had read my poems. And now, I should be paying attention

to the quest giver with their hovering exclamation point


over their head like a halo, I should listen to where

they tell me to go—I need that direction, I want to be told

there is a goal I can achieve, I need a story I play a role in


but don’t write, a story that only makes sense in Azeroth.

Can I live forever here? Where will I go next without you

pointing to the map? When I go to turn in the quest


there is a question mark above the NPC’s head, one I need

an answer to, one I know the ending of, one I don’t want

to end, and so I turn my character away from the pixels


of the campfire and the green glow of the friendly icons

toward the field that surrounds me and its forever-living grass,

I run as fast as I can toward the dark and distant hills.


This poem was previously published in Ninth Letter (January 2022). Reprinted by permission of the author.