Sevens at the Table

Paper changed for plastic, I put a "quarter" on the line,
Dropped upon a felt of promise held.
Plastic, smooth and perfect, no monetary worth
As fantasy and life commence to meld.

Dice are offered to her, she picks the perfect two;
Geometric cubes with hearts of ice.
She kisses them, then warms them, rubbing twice on green,
Asking them to heed her sage advice.

She shoots a seven when coming out, and nothing seems so sweet,
The table crowd lets out a feeble cheer.
The background noise of slots machines drowns out the sounds of loss
I turn and place an order for a beer.

A "Yo!" she throws, my back still turned, my quarter now is four,
A hundred dollars manifest from air.
The table voices, louder now, supporting this young thing,
Who, second time, has kept them from despair.

I place my trust in someone whom I've never met before,
Will never see again, nor know her name.
She kisses, rubs, beseeches gods I never know looked down
Inside these walls, to smile and bless this game.

It works! They smile, they disregard the odds you hear are true,
A seven thrown once more, the tables cheers.
The stack of green, now two black chips
Begins to dissipate my daily fears.

The dice are pushed back to the girl, the ritual begins;
She kisses, rubs, beseeches unseen gods.
The dice let loose and time stands still as jewels part the air.
The seven shows again, against all odds.

Four hundred now in front of me, a voice says "Pull it down!"
I argue with myself; the dice are kissed.
I reach for chips, then stay my hand, my gut tied in a knot,
Dice rub felt, a prayer, the ritual never missed.

The dice float free, I watch them glide, slow motion past my eyes.
Silence reigns 'cross 14 feet of felt.
People yelling, shouting "Yo!", I cannot hear a thing
I wait to see what gods unknown have dealt.

I close my eyes, my ears discern the click of red on green,
Nothing… nothing… where's the stickman's call?
"Yo, eleven, pay the line", the angelic voice resounds,
Eight blacks now stand on Pass, so dark and tall.

I know this streak will shortly end, I calculate the odds.
A full six naturals falling back to back.
This next one bucking odds - eight thou to one against,
I simply cannot risk my tower of black.

"Your beer, my dear", I hear behind, and turn to grab my drink.
Then spin back to grab a dollar for a tip.
I hadn't pulled my money down, and now the dice are out,
The tip forgot, the dice are touched to lip.

To be those dice, to feel the press of lips that talk to gods,
The kiss is done, now down to touch the green.
They're rubbed not once, precisely twice, to warm them for the throw,
I finally hear the prayer from this craps dream.

"Come on seven, show your spots", I heard her chant this time,
Hey! That's the same one I would always call.
Why it never works for me I've never understood,
But for her, the gods are pleased and set the fall.

Did she set them right and kiss them long and rub them to and fro?
Did she pray too loudly and scare the luck away?
She let's them go, the stickman watches, the boxman never blinks,
They follow them to where they finally lay.

"Two, craps two, pay the don't, double in the field!"
My "quarter" that had grown to eight black chips.
Eight hundred bucks, a long weeks pay, cannot survive a two,
Wiped out from two red cubes with single pips.

With no emotion the dealer starts to pull in all the line.
He removes my stack with military order.
My wife shows up and asks so sweet just how I stand right now,
I shrug and say "Not bad; I'm down a quarter."

                -- Flip Nehrt