It was like I antied up as soon as
I entered the room. The cards,
my face-up hand, before me.
“What?” she said, and peered over her glasses
in that interrogatory way of hers.
It speaks louder than the bright lights
and rubber hose quality in her voice.
“What do you mean, ‘What’?” I said.
“I don’t know, something’s going on.
You look like you’re thinking,” she said.
Even though nothing was,
I immediately tossed in my hand.
Busted said my discard mush.
“Well, of course I’m thinking,” I stammered.
“I’d be going around bumping into things
like one of those little toy clown cars if I didn’t.”
She hmmphed her …aannnd? hmmph.
“Now you’re making fun of me.
You know what I mean,
something’s going on,
I can tell.”
This is why I never play poker.
My face, a fumble-fingered fish
in a casino of card sharks,
always expresses whatever I am feeling,
what I might possibly be thinking.
No matter how hard I try to control
these tics and twitches.
“Oh, nothing’s going on,” I said,
“Uh huh,” she said, unconvinced.
And then she smiled her selachimorphic smile
and dealt me another hand,
just to make sure.