V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics




Poker players eat corn relish on hotdogs.
Sing out of key.  Hum classic rock.
Tangential conversations that stop, start.
Rooms full of chair scraping.

The devil sat down to play poker opposite
the blue-eyed woman in grey.  She said, I bet
my husband's sink.  Not my own.  I need it
to wash my face and hands.

The poker players drank smoke and smelled
of shoe leather.  The ache and fever of the game,
the rain mixed with the devil's whistle.  The voice
of God never reached her.  She knew better

than to get up from her chair.  When the clock struck five,
the ceiling glowed red.  She held up the cards.
A good hand.  She smiled.  The devil laughed
like a gypsy, all teeth and wild hair.

She held her cards like her husband's face.
Both were her winnings.
Hers to lay down.  Hers to pick up.


© by Kate Gale


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