Free Cell

Genarro Rafael Pascual

You drown a shot of poison,
Tire sparks screeching down your throat,
A trail of ashes on the asphalt esophagus
Carving a signature –
You cannot always escape,
The cell waits for you, your number’s up,
The same as everybody else.
A shot in the darkness, the liquid
Weighs down and warms your belly,
You pick from the lain-down deck
And match the cards around –
Red diamonds like bullet stains,
A red heart throbbing above an ace
That goes to the cell upon conception;
The king that will always be the last to go,
Behind his cloven jacks and sevens,
Numbers for names in a pile tucked
In by the spades. Who’s to blame?
You killed your nameless God
With your Magnum named Maria,
Puked on his corpse and buried him on
The beach – who framed you?
The unknown culprit,
The hand that shuffles the game
Into meaningless probabilities; partly
A game of chance, partly a game of skill,
Partly chosen, in a prison of winding rules
By a being as detached and as dead
As coincidence. There is no meaning here;
There are just the player and the game,
Sometimes the cards simply don’t fit
together. ▪