At El Cortez where most players are soused,
I finally dared to join a poker game.
One guy looked around the ring of us. "Does
anybody here know...the spider's name...
that's most poisonous?" Small talk. It douses
the hand. And his grammar sucked. Just the same
I caught the question, if not what he meant
by it. I tried to guess how it pertained.
The flop cards flopped, and someone raised the bet.
"Black widow?” asked a man who seemed so used
up, I wondered where he'd found momentum
to speak. "Nope," answered the arachnophile.
"Brown recluse," I said. "Nope. It's the venom
of daddy longlegs. Most deadly of all."
“That can’t be right,” I thought. The river came.
A silent man was moving my chip pile
over toward his. He didn’t crack a smile.