in a big white room
with a long white table
and a tall white door
that swings open
God storms in, nostrils flared.
Gabriel trails with two chairs.
God glares at me, snorts,
settles into a fat white recliner
with a big gilded G
a built-in cup holder.
He points at a three-legged stool
with an unfinished seat, says
You’re here to play poker.
Poker with God?
I don’t like the odds: he has x-ray vision
he bankrolls the joint. If I win he’ll be pissed--
I’ll be sold into slavery, fed to the fish. I fidget.
Poker is a man’s game, says God forget Pinochle
forget Mother-May-I you’re playing with me,
mano a dios. I say, But--
God says, But what?
God has a million chips in a silo—
I start with fifty-three.
He says One for every year
of your life expectancy.
Ante up says God.
I draw one card, try to bluff him
into thinking I’ve got a great hand.
God draws two, says
You’re trying to bluff me into thinking
you’ve got a great hand You dummy I’m God
I know when you’re bluffing.
I say What kind of chance does that give me?
God says Where were you when I created poker?
God stacks the deck.
I say Maybe I could deal for a change. God says
I’m the dealer here chum we’ve been playing this game
how long Gabriel?—never mind—since before time
OK wise guy
God shows another winning hand
slaps Gabriel on the back
lays down royal flushes inside
straights—I’ll never win.
I jump up and kick
the table over Gabriel lunges
I wrestle him til two seraphim
fly in and pin back my arms.
God punches me in the stomach
chomps on the butt of his cigar.
This is my place kid
I got a full house
no room at the inn
know what I mean?
The floor drops open I watch fog pour down
into the abyss. God turns his back
taps his ashes and they shove me in.
On the way down I clutch my fist
around one white chip I took
without permission. Be fruitful
I whisper and multiply.