Strewn Quarters and Still Dealt Cards

Samantha Long


To do that piece, that piece
That is that is that is
About it. To be about it.

To watch from the top of the bottle
Watch the weekend from a Monday night's view
Slip into Sunday, slip into Sunday.

To feel it in my back, the ache,
The dehydration, I'm drying up from
The inside, inside my back it aches
The sponge's liquor trail evaporates
And it withers and withers.

Tasting tomato paste and ash
The get-rich schemes on the abandoned TV screen
And the half-attempt of soaked-through napkins
To suck up a spill


When it is early in the AM
The late early AM
That is when I try to think
In a lights-out living room with the last ones still full in
Locked hands—a reflex—
And across from the couch an empty skyline on the countertop
—our glass skyline—
I am propped on both sets of sleeping shoulders
Battling with knowing
The bare feet held by the coffee table's ledge
Knowing that I can't think.


It isn't a problem, not a problem
I am growing accustomed
To needing. Something like this.


To hear the bridge never catch
The lost fluid sound of every card falling down
One onto the other, not when I shuffle
I try to hold at the center and bend but
My hands don't work quick enough—it won't ever be quick enough—
"If I go about it like that," they slide out of both paws
Landing right on their red backs
My back aches.

In the strewn quarters and still dealt cards of Sunday morning
There is nothing but signs of ways to waste time away
And as the afternoon blacks out behind the curtains
We start to lie, right in front of the TV about what will
Happen tonight, as if the weekends still had ends.

Euphemism Campus Box 4240 Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790-4240