Coats and faces tight against the wind,
only line in the winter empty plaza,
on the kiosk windows, yellowed and edges curled
all the winning numbers sold
el Gordo, Navidad, el Nino, La Loteria
I ‘magin you know it well as me, the rush,
calling shotgun long-sida luck,
always a clamor, claiming credit when things go
the way we hoped they might,
but the crowd thins like smoke in the wind
when fate shifts, and tables turn.
Luck’s a tide.
No dam’ll hold it when it flows.
Where it reaches and where it goes,
like wind through the grass or the silence among the stars.
The rich among us, they could tell,
how laden, Ithaka bound,
every pocket full;
a child’s smile, fallen tears,
a ray of sun at the end of a long grey day,
the winter forest silence,
a flower through the snow.
A lifetime’s winnings in a leather purse
counted by candle light, then carefully hid away
what numbers written in the sand gained these?
This ticket home,
to arrive with all time and money spent,
naught but a pocket of memories.
The rich among us, travel light.
Others wait in line and offer
silent prayers to call the neon god of luck.