face made up, white, combed hair.
The same little lines
running like deltas from your eyes
that sweep streaked streets across my own bleak cheeks.
The mouth, seemingly empty,
without your accustomed rewetting drink,
seemed to call out to me, here,
miles away from wretched Atlanta
and the hot lights and red-eyed cameras
and the clapping and cheering audience.
You told Steve Harvey you were looking
for a husband. You told him you liked to gamble.
I could see you, Jean Rae,
one wrinkled hand wrapped around the soggy napkin
hugging the sweating, casino house rum & coke,
the other gripped, white knuckled and sure,
on the waxed and shining lever
of the slot machine,
flashing and blinking and coaxing and singing.
I saw you there with your three daughters,
all blonde but working towards the white
gracing your crown
I could be the bet,
so long, so great in odds,
so set to break the bank
and maybe win y’all that car,
but, really, just for you.