Casino

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)
More Poems by Joyce Sutphen