over cards

there must have been three

or four reasons why

the cards in your hand shook

waiting on the meld

smoke swirling around your lip

(swollen from the mouthpiece

of a stubborn trumpet) sky writing

secret indecipherable signals

playing your hand against your partner's 

lack of bullets

"nothing but clothes" you said

a handful of jacks and queens

powerless in the endgame of tricks

but that's not what you were

thinking of i could tell

with the gin nearly empty

and the ashtray full of roaches

some sweet lucid larceny was taking place

and for a moment eyes meeting eyes

you pick-pocketed a parcel of

unsung refrains from within me

and never cracked a smile.

-- douglas brent smith

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No One Expected Moses

  No One Expected Moses -- collage by douglas brent smith 4 August 1983