Card Players

My father drank then.
Uncolored, they fashioned gray from the photograph.
the leaf in the kitchen table lengthened the laughs,
Miller High Life the lanterns of languid Saturdays.
Pennies in Doric columns
braced workweek-callused hands
tough enough to cut calfskin.
This Kodak Brownie holds a full house,
the seminal hairlines heavy,
tonsures of the immortal, the unwrinkled.
My uncle smoked then,
the lethal, frozen spirals making him one-eyed
and wild for the shot,
no matter the ante,
before divorce and before death.
They dropped pennies into our pajamas
when we nodded in the den.
The vodka mixed, the polkas static,
the Bicycle deck curled
like next-day scriptures.
My mother smiled then.

Previous Next Cover Front Contents BIO