A GAMBLER PRAYS
Patrick Ryan Frank
May the first card laid
before me be an ace,
placed face-up and pointing forward
toward a king. May I raise
on every hand, the men
around me folding. Let
the waitresses all be redheads, thin
and grinning, gathered to watch me bet.
May the roulette wheel
be whirling fast as the blade
of a helicopter letting down
its long white rope, that it may sway
into my open hand,
and lift me into the night,
leaving the dealers looking up
to see me rising out of sight.
And if, at dawn, I’m found
face-down in the fountain, may
I be laid on the game room’s soft green lawn
of carpet, that my name be played
on the harps of the slot machines,
pooled in the players hearts,
and let my eyelids be left open
that I may see those flaring lights.
Patrick Ryan Frank is the author of How the Losers Love What's Lost, which won the
2010 Intro Prize from Four Way Books; and The Opposite of People, to be published
by Four Way Books in the fall of 2015. He was recently a Fulbright Fellow to Iceland.
For more information, go to patrickryanfrank.com.
About his poems: There are some people who are so fully some certain
thing—gambler, widow, etc.—that the world becomes saturated with it,
becomes an extra layer of that condition. I’m not one of those people, which
is undoubtedly for the best, but I am fascinated by that strange lens through
which one sees everywhere and in everything oneself.