He was an ancient gambler
long vanished from the window table
where the game became a way of life.
Dim-eyed and reptilian, Willie Provencher
sat on his favorite bench near the door and scanned the murk for fish.
we came ducktailed and dumb
from school to lose at nineball
to that dank and wrinkled shark
who held a dime store magnifying glass
against his eye to line his shots
before he cleaned the table.
He took our quarters one by one.
A fingerling anxious for the light,
I left that world. There’s no small change
in this Alaskan city where I live.
You can see earth’s inviting bend toward Asia,
and at times the coastal mountains buckle
clouds that form a vast and empty moonlit
tent above us. At times I long
to shine like bait in Willie’s hand.