Lessons in the Cards
While my father was teaching me the cold
calculus of chance, the shuffling dance
of probability in the mathematics of poker,
I was learning the symbols of love and wealth,
of war and death, discovering myself
in the joker and the one-eyed jack of hearts.
While he was teaching me percentages,
how the odds shift as the cards fall,
I was learning bluff and bluster, sleight
of hand, and how to slip an ace
from the bottom of the deck when
I had nothing else upon which to call.
My father taught me well, though
I didn’t always learn what he wanted
me to learn. He taught me to play the game
with skill, while I wanted to know— not
how to win but how simply to live— and, finally,
how to stop playing the game at all.