an on-line poetry magazine
for the 21st century


Robert Savino


In a dim-lit basement
they played night after night
through the wee hours ‘til dawn

sitting in the same seats
sipping malt liquor
blowing smoke rings from old stogies.

They cut and shuffle in turns of six,
one card up, one down . . . hit or miss,
odds behind abstract stares

to fall in love with the Queen of Hearts,
hope to draw one of four bullets,
hope to beat the hand of the Dealer.

And when cash runs out, they wager
wristwatches and registrations,
but never the deed, fear of losing the house,

forced to invite the wife,
a fate worse than aces and eights.

Robert Savino, Suffolk County Poet Laureate 2015-2017, is a native Long Island poet, Board Member at the Walt Whitman Birthplace and winner of the 2008 Oberon Poetry Prize. Robert is the co-editor of a 2-volume bilingual collection of New York Italian Americans Poets (No Distance Between Us). His books include fireballs of an illuminated scarecrow and Inside a Turtle Shell.