Things fell apart slowly. I knew my luck was going when I began losing at the card tables. It was a small shift. I’d been on a streak while I stayed in New Orleans. Every third or fourth day, I walked to Harrah’s. All I knew how to play was blackjack, and I didn’t know if it was a winner’s game or not. I’d heard that if you played the odds at craps, you could ensure a slow and steady income. But that’s not what I did. I followed the generally suggested rules of play, took chances when compelled to, and left the casino with two, three hundred dollars each visit. It wasn’t high stakes, but I’d known what it felt like to be a winner. After my streak turned, I walked out of the casino two, three hundred dollars poorer twice a week, and I knew things had shifted. I was no longer in the good graces of whatever spirits I’d appointed to guide me.
Last Halloween you splattered fake blood all over a sexy nurse costume and went as “Malpractice.” Your boyfriend didn’t think it was funny, but he doesn’t think anything is funny. He’s in his last year of college, studying psychology. You don’t understand how you can study feelings. You like to imagine him recording the salt concentration of tears. Your mother always tells you he’s the smartest man you’ll ever get.
He asked you why you couldn’t just be a regular sexy nurse, why you could never just be sincere. Continue reading
I was somebody else in Kentucky. Well, at least I tried to be. But traveling is always messy. I hate sleeping on a hotel bed; it’s like sleeping on an oversized Ritz Crackers box, covered with a paper towel. Yet, when you sign in at the front desk of a hotel you can be anyone, anyone at all, whoever you dream up. So, when my best friend Jackie asked me to tag along to Kentucky, I said yes. Continue reading
wife before mother (mine)
They had the same name.
What are the odds?
Of him leaving her, Continue reading
Her gravestone is never too dirty to be new.
It isn’t, though. New, an ancestor
But ancestor is for the long passed. Continue reading
One balmy Indian summer evening stands out from all the pablum. It began, as had a thousand other nights, when Ira called. “Well, Mister B, looks like a beautiful night for the ponies.” Continue reading
In the Shenandoah Valley,
I-81’s long stretch of midnight,
there’s a metropolis of a truck stop,
a megaplex for tractor trailers
to rest like dragons on their loot
while drivers crowd into the diner
for the late night buffet. Continue reading