Steven Heighton

 

Blackjack

 

Hit: to take another card, and risk breaking.

Stand: to stick with what you have.

 

The dealer is dailiness, and the asking—

hit or stand?—comes more often than you guess.

Missed cues can fill a life. Or you signal wrong,

 

the house responds, no recourse. Standing with less

may be safer—you know the odds—but even then

the temptation is to hit. Sometimes loss

 

at long odds looks better than a sure win;

as if winning were a sure thing, ever.

In some dreams a familiar house will open

 

into unsuspected rooms, door after door

glides ajar, yet you hang back and consciousness

cuts in like an eviction. But what if you were

 

not so anxious to wake back into your less

uncharted life, and chanced those farther rooms . . .?

Caution cancels love’s richer part; eros,

 

sequestered in home safety, always seems

to die by inches. The house wins by turning

its people into furniture. Many tombs

 

are made of unplayed cards. It’s me I’m warning

here. Hit when the asking happens. The house

may have its system, but you’re not through learning.

 

 

More poems by Heighton >>

Bernard Clark

Sentinel Poetry (Online) #41

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF POETRY & GRAPHICS...Since 2002 ISSN 1479-425X April 2006

Editor: Amatoristero Ede

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