In a hand that looked like a winner when you picked it up
There are cards that already line up—‘pure sets’—
And cards that might and cards that surely won’t,
Unless others decide likewise
And you’re clever enough to take leavings.
Foraging what you can get
From what others don’t value,
And, just sometimes, getting what you want
By wanting it harder,
Is the game.
That is all fine as far as it goes,
But what happens when you’re
Irrationally drawn to spades
—so sharp and dark—
And scathing of diamonds,
Or when you drop a card someone wants,
See them pounce on it, and grit your teeth
In moral quandary?
(All the while trying to seduce
The one across the table with
your skills and winning?)
Holding your cards in a tight fan
—too tight, not how the pros do it—
Trying to look as convincing as those who take it seriously
While knowing you don’t, you can’t, you can’t afford to.
The food dwindles and the clock pirouettes and
You’re learning about the others—she’s surprisingly clever—
and everyone has a strategy, and they all seem unfamiliar;
It’s with relief that when someone proposes Snap,
We descend from our card-ramparts,
Squealing at the advent of—what a stroke of brilliance!—chips.