Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

"Golden Moon Casino"

Golden Moon Casino

In the tub, bubbles sparkle and hiss.
I sniff orange and neroli, turn my body
that warms like a baby. On this hard mattress,
buttoned into pockets, I once cut powder lines.
The floor’s blue ground floats yellow circles.
Gold drapes expose the fish tank of the parking lot.
A window seat narrows, made for robots,
tilts forward as if the whole room could lift.
Curtains pierced like shower liners rattle
across a porthole onto Alabama’s pines.

My family jams circles into slot machines.
Oz is here, drawing his curtains. I laid my head
on my Mama’s stomach: “I want you to die
in my arms.” “I’ll wait for you,” she said.
On the phone when I told her,
“I’m coming back early,” she broke
two syllables, “You are?” into a question.
The words rose, opened like a bubble,
planetary, a circle in which she knew
that “o” in the word love was meant for her.

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