>I did this to us she whispers after we hear the bottom drop
out of another box her husband is carrying from his packed
pickup to the front door of their latest house which I mean
to say is an apartment because it is seventy-two times
smaller than where they used to live. Nowhere in the kitchen
is there room to roll out dough. She is too small
to see out the kitchen window which is too small to show
a view but she knows without looking what lies shattered
on the landing next to the unmowed grass is their Christmas
china which is where Boyd’s kneeling, next to this first box
Judy packed when she got the news, when I step out
with the broom.

Everything is glue-able except for the gravy boat he says
squinting past me, looking through that window where she
can’t stand and look. He finds his cigarettes on the lawn
tractor he used to mow three acres at the house they lost
last week. He lights up but doesn’t exactly breathe, asking
did I know who might want his stuff in the garage that is
too filled with boxes marked with K for his yard tools to fit.
I shake my head; he shakes his and bends to hold the dust
pan. We sweep up bits of china, more shards of casino


About redmitten

author of Cracking Geodes Open, Making Good Use of August, and The Peppermint Bottle. poetry editor for IthacaLit. website: https://toomuchaugust.wordpress.com

6 responses to “>casino

  1. >I find myself reading this three times, hoping it is not a true story; admiring the technique that makes it a telling flash fiction, saying so much, in so few words, with breathing space where the poetry lets the reader fill the voids. As a story, I love the twists and turns of each sentence that make perfect sense. As a true story, I feel great empathy, from the opening to the closing words; and the surprise, that it is the woman who lost it all for them, and not the man you might expect. Sentences like these impress: "He finds his cigarettes on the lawn tractor he used to mow three acres at the house they lost last week." I hope all is okay for you and yours.

  2. penjandrum

    >"Sniff". That made me all teary. Lovely, evocative piece, though. I want to give that woman a hug and say all the usual platitudes, but I'd really mean them.Penny

  3. >Fiction or the telling of fact, the story is so clean, so filled with the magnitude of loss, which has had me by the throat already today. It is late enough that I can go to bed and cry for us all.

  4. >"…looking through that window where shecan’t stand and look."Just one of many examples of all the layers in this poem. The play on words of "can't stand it," and the symbolism of her short-sightedness.What a rich poem.

  5. >I can sense that emptiness and devastation all through this piece…gambling…"it's been the ruin of many a poor man"…

  6. >annie,it is a true story (names are changed). i wanted this to share the sense of loss without this turning into a lecture on addiction. also, these are people i care deeply about and so there is an ongoing debate within myself about whether i should write this or not. is there a way i can write this without spelling things out? penny,hugs are a cliche only until you share one and then you know what a real deal they are. they both benefit from your hug, real or cyberly.marylinn,i hoped this would come across "in the right way", and so your comment eases my worries. i also think that this piece touching you says much about the depth of your own heart.kass,i've been experimenting with flash fiction and prose poems for a bit now and am so pleased that the subtle phrasings and line breaks came across. subject aside, the debate about prose poetry is ongoing, but i, too, feel this ranks as a poem. your thumbs up means a lot to me, thank you.kerry,yes. it troubles me that our state allowed gambling back in a couple decades ago. (oh the stories i could tell . . .) the saying here is that if you step outside one casino, there are at least two other casinos in view. the decay of our community is evident in the number of pawn shops and storage units that have move in after gambling became legal here.

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