Three Old Men Playing Cards

DuBois dealt cards with the slow, pyroclastic menace of a burning pirate:

‘the knave of spades –
a forthcoming chateaubriand will prove substandard;
the knave of diamonds –
dumb crambo culminates in a switchblade grapple;

the two of clubs –
you win a set of tuning forks in a raffle;
the king of hearts –
unexplained scuff marks devalue the kraken skull;

the nine of clubs –
the hospital blazing, you,
in a surgical gown that gapes at the back,
staggering from ward to ward, screaming her name,

beams falling and babies clucking
in red incubators, a kidney in a tureen,
till you succumb to smoke inhalation in Prosthetics,

one false leg curling in the heatwarp
like a miracle fish.’

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