Thrilled that my poem, Cadge, has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Burningword Literary Journal. Here is the poem:

I bet the four flush—
worth next to nothing
but looking to all like the key
to the kingdom of heaven.

You told me once
that poker
was half luck
and half bluff.

They had just
cleaned you out again
at the Friday night game
above the body shop on Sutter Avenue.

You and your six
unemployable friends—
passing a cheap bottle of rye
and shots at each other’s parentage,

in a room
full of reefer
and the sweat
of day labor.

You told me once
you had no luck—
having given it
all to me.

And I pictured a medallion
bestowed upon the younger brother—
no small burden
you’d hung around my neck—

as if the family’s fortune
was riding on my narrow shoulders.
“What fortune?”
anyone who knew us might think to ask.

“But, you’ll never be a bluffer,
you told me,
for that you need a pair—
and in our family, I got them.”

Cold as cobra’s breath
I bet my four spades
and watched
as the better hand folded.

You never were a judge of character—
a lifetime
of confusing
friends and enemies.

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2 Responses to Cadge

  1. YES! Congrats, Steve!


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