Jacks or Better

(Upon reading 9 Reasons to Bring Back Cocktail Parties.   Because reason #9 is “As a kid, there’s nothing more interesting than overhearing cocktail party chatter.”)

Lying on my parents green quilted bedspread
under the heavy weight of a dozen winter coats
in the near dark.
One small sliver of light makes its way through the slightly open door
onto the wood paneled wall behind me.
Wool and satin and leather and mink brush against my skin.
The smells of sweet powdery perfume and stale cigarette smoke
fill my nose with each breath.
Shalimar and Chantilly.  Musk and Marlboros.

I can hear the noises of the kitchen.
The clinking of ice cubes in old-fashioned glasses.
Plastic poker chips hitting against each-other.
The swishing sound of shuffling cards.
The rise and fall of voices that I can distinguish
speaking words I’ve never heard before.
Phrases that conjure up fairy-tale figures,
one-eyed jacks and jokers,
kings and queens and wild deuces.
“I see you.” “I raise you.” “I fold.”  “I call.”
Above it all, I can hear, my father’s laughter.
I close my eyes and I inhale.

No one knows that I am here.






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