May 3, 2014

Martha Clarkson

HOW SHE DESCRIBED HER EX-HUSBAND
WHEN THE POLICE CALLED

He’s the man who wants to live on Park Place
but can only afford Virginia, the Pennsylvania line
running through his backyard, fast as a chance.

He’s the hat who owes a luxury tax.

He’s a no-trump bid without all the aces. A queen finesse,
eight ever, nine never, that fails to fall
into the dummy just right.

He’s down a trick.

Just call him Colonel Mustard, pinning Miss Scarlett
against the conservatory wall but rubbing noses (literally)
with Mrs. Peacock, endowed by her old money.

He needs cash and carries a lead pipe.

Slow to ante up, he’s jackpot dreams, quad or flush
scraping the felt for another card
odds turning on the river.

He’s a bluff on junk.

He’s the joker pinned in bicycle spokes
vanishing down the street.

from Rattle #29, Summer 2008
2009 Neil Postman Award Honorable Mention