#2,642 Player One

Mike Bell/ March 18, 2023/ www.mikebellpoems.com

Canasta & cribbage are both as alien
to me as nineteen fifty-three –
he sits
still –
a player of lost games –
rule repeater at a time-stained table –
precise shuffler of a greasy auld deck
of ear-marked houses in pre-arthritic
fingers –
then a delivery of face-down
cards –
Cigarette smoke doesn’t alter
in its rising –
I knew it as a kid –
flumes above ash trays –
balances on
hard surfaces & then kissed by lips &
lungs –
tar drug –
He calls me to work
with his seven decades authority –
my hand I fan his dealing –
will I win?

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