Friday, April 10, 2009

In The Downstairs Room

The light is on in the downstairs room,
The one furthest from the street.
With the window that looks out on the ancient elm tree,
Taller now than the house itself.
And in that room sits an old woman,
Dozing in her chair.

She sits and waits for the sound of his key in the door,
The measured tread of his feet down the hall.
He’s gone to play bridge, as he has every Thursday for forty years.
By the time she hears him,
The fire has died down to embers.

Feigning sleep she lets him wake her,
With the same kiss on the cheek he bestows
Each time he comes home.
And taking his hand, she lets him lead her up the stairs,
To the double bed that dips in the middle,
Rolling their bodies together.

How was the game? She asks quietly in the dark,
His arm holding her tightly against his chest,
His knees tucked close behind hers.
Tonight, he said, tonight we won.
And patting his hand in equal triumph,
She feels his breathing change and deepen into sleep.

The Final Card

So soon the ending.
Cards in my hand.
Yet somehow the game is over.
The last trick gone before I close my eyes.

Sharpness of the blade.
Unexpected cut on my fingertip.
Pain I could not anticipate.
Winner takes all.

If a wound does not bleed, is it true?
A final counting, no chips left.

Shuffle the deck.
King beats Queen.
Jacks are wild.