So much simpler then, the time
spent across the Silver State
table games I viewed through
a bottomless beer glass while

the escape artists grappled
to free themselves from
their real-world dreams,
the gamblers their vows of poverty,

the cannibals of love their hearts.
No karma bill was ever served
on my side of the table, no need
for these crocodile hands to rake

my pockets for Susan Bs and
Dwight Ds, the dykes and Ikes
I stowed at home inside
my Crown Royal poke.

No scores to settle, only spreads
to cover and aprons to undo.
Just two sins a dealer might commit,
to be cheap or be needy. I sought

the taut flesh and the sheets
that yielded unlikely shadows
even when we beat the sun to bed.
There was never reflection

in those shaded rooms, each surrender
the mere echo of another’s whisper,
the volume knob always in my grasp,
all control remote.

So much simpler then,
when I had myself forgotten.