Why I Can’t Play Poker Cards feel like collectibles, each ace the Honus Wagner. I prefer not to lay them down, give them up. Weakness of character: I love chaos after losing, one of those rare times anger & emptiness overlap enough to scorch a desert twice. Besides, I think, what if I won? How could I bear reality? To surrender failings I embrace like a childhood toy? To gain but sacrifice my desperation, doubt? I’d have to be a different me, neither my goal nor a solution, more like deodorant sprayed on later. I’d rather not play a hand again, except these sailboats in the hole: how they glide across the table, how they carry me farther out to sea
About the Author:Ace Boggess is author of six books of poetry, most recently Escape Envy (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2021). His poems have appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, River Styx, and other journals. An ex-con, he lives in Charleston, West Virginia, where he writes and tries to stay out of trouble.
Image Credit: Arthur S. Siegel “Detroit, Michigan. Poker hand and hands of girl players” (1941) Public domain image courtesy of the Library of Congress.