Casino

By Joyce Sutphen b. 1949 Joyce Sutphen
My mind is shuffling its deck tonight,   
slipping one card over another,   
letting them all fall together at the corners;   
the random hand of memory
is dealing from the bottom of the pack.

First: a bearded man emptying
the dragon kiln, then a woman
whistling, her face turned away   
as she opens the oven. Next:   
a big cat, six toes on each paw,   
climbing up the yardpole. Last:   
a pair of workhorses circling a tree
until they grind themselves to dust.

There is no one home in the world
tonight. Everyone is out of range.
The cradles are empty, the boughs
broken down. Trees go helter-skelter
and the wheel is creaking on its shaft.
Hit me, I say to the dealer. Hit me again.

“Casino” from Coming Back to the Body by Joyce Sutphen. © 2000 by Joyce Sutphen. Used by permission of Joyce Sutphen and the publisher, Holy Cow! Press.

Source: Coming Back to the Body (Holy Cow! Press, 2000)

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Poet Joyce Sutphen b. 1949

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Activities, Social Commentaries, Popular Culture, Life Choices

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Joyce  Sutphen

Biography

Joyce Sutphen grew up on a farm in Minnesota. She earned a PhD in Renaissance drama from the University of Minnesota, and has taught British literature and creative writing at Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota. Her first collection of poems, Straight Out of View (1995), won the Barnard Women’s Poets Prize. Subsequent collections include Coming Back to the Body (2000), a Minnesota Book Award finalist, Naming the . . .

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SUBJECT Activities, Social Commentaries, Popular Culture, Life Choices

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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