You don’t see well any more.
You sometimes forget
names of the four suits.
You compiled your deck
from loose ends at a thrift store,
some backed with blue jays.
Others irises, dizzy diamonds,
Texas vipers, or Utamaro courtesans.
Four Tarot cups cards, an odd
number of jokers and twos
are always wild.
You shuffle well, like a casino
dealer with black-painted nails
and a wristwatch on an alligator band
with hands that jump from one jewel
to another. How slick you riffle
your deck. Your knobby
fingers act dainty.
You win often.
More than probable.
I know you won’t get angry.
I laugh at your jokes. I pick up
your medicines at the pharmacy.
I ask if it’s the wild cards
or do you cheat?
You get that crystal flicker
wide-eye of a man who has
had cataract surgery and who,
I suppose, loves me.
Your hand waves from the blanket
draping your legs to the half-open window—
What’s the use of this
if I can’t play my way?
My deal. My rules.
My magician hands.
Tricia Knoll is a Vermont poet. Her work appears widely in journals, anthologies, and five collections. How I Learned To Be White (Antrim House) received the 2018 Human Relations Indie Book Award for Motivational Poetry. Checkered Mates came out in 2021 and Let's Hear It for the Horses (third-place in The Poetry Box chapbook contest) on February 1, 2022. Website: triciaknoll.com