The Gambler's Daughter
The Gambler’s daughter
gets herself a dui
which at first she finds funny
because her Pa drove for a living
but awhile back he retired
and now she guesses she has too.
She finds herself trying to
define herself by her relation
to him. Before she was a feminist.
Independent. Modern. Now she rides
her bike through backstreets
to her childhood home. Backpeddling.
The racino in town is new
but all the customers are old.
Her Father tells her this isn’t always so
but she doesn’t mind so much.
Doesn’t care a bit about age, just
that everyone is equally desperate.
Her father used to take her
to races when she was young, carry
her on his back so she could place bets.
Once she nearly won it all,
on a long shot with a funny name.
Her father never lets that almost die.
Now the Gambler’s back is bent,
maybe from studying forms, the same
devotion on his face as he reads that she
had back when she was an academic
with some sense. She chooses with her gut
even if it’s only ever been wrong before.
She splits her last twenty between
Couldabeenacontender and Happy On Empty,
daydreams about eating apples, using
apple bodywash, becoming apple enough
to hook a jockey. A steady loving man,
small enough to ride on the back of her bike.
Luckisasweetlady comes from behind, mouth
frothing, legs like tiny tornados. She tears apart
her ticket before the race is even half over.
She is a quiet mourner, her father a curser.
Not even a place to their names. Luck takes gold
and no one cashes in.
About the author:
Couri Johnson is a recent graduate of the North Eastern Master of Fine Arts, former editor of the magazine Jenny, and a native of Youngstown Ohio. Her work can be found various places on the web such as Extract(s), Melancholy Hyperbole, and Decades Review. She can also be found on twitter at a_couri.