the gamble

A poem by Brenna Casey

close up of red, green, blue, black and white poker chips

in my family we call people swells
when they have won all their lives.

and of this:
no one in my family can be accused.

short glasses with ample amber pools
are left by the door on all souls’ day,

intercessions sought at thresholds
so that the living may yet find luck.

when we play cards the first time,
you stress eat: a smear of blue cheese

on a square of chocolate. in the end: it’s a draw—
well-matched mouthfuls of penicillium brine.

when you find two more dollars in your pocket,
we return to the dice game, and

though we have already said goodnight,
my hand in yours is: a chance is a chance is a chance.


Brenna M. Casey is a writer and educator living in Durham, North Carolina. She is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Wake Forest University where she teaches in the Departments of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and English. Her poetry and essays have appeared in Hyperallergic, Bitch, The Boiler, and more. You can find her on Twitter @b_case.

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