art above by C.C. Askew

Women sit around the table,
kittens on their sweaters freshly pressed
with an iron that removes
all wrinkles except theirs.
Nickels ting inside a glass cup
passed from hand to hand, the fingers
gilded in gold and cubic zirconium,
dusted with flour from schnitzel.

You can’t pick on queens with nines.

The cards slip past each other,
the edges fraying like
crocheted shawls on shoulders.
Same deck since the fifties,
when apple pies were crisper,
and laundry smelled like rain.

Don’t take all the tricks!
Hilbert took all of them,
and I didn’t talk to him for a week.
That was right away when we were married.

Their voices are crumpled papers,
the kind uncovered in the attic.

Whose lead?
And I told Mary she needs a will
I’ll try for a trick, see if I get lucky
Because the state will take everything when you die
Queen of diamonds
Will you pick already
She only has a sister so she doesn’t think she needs one
Would you get me some coffee?
I’ve got seventeen.