The Gods Play Poker

Three in the morning, the room reeks
of incense and cow blood, and they’re
just looking for a break. They’ve told

their women they can’t do anything tonight.
Sunday’s card night,
the only time they get to see the guys.

Even Osiris made it, though it’s damn hard to stack
chips through all those bandages, and Isis
is at home, pissed. He’s into his sixth

glass of something strong,
and he’s finally feeling good. Shit,
he says, a woman sews your dick back on, it ain’t easy

to tell her no. Bacchus stamps his foot in approval,
shuffles his chips. He’s down five bucks, will win it back
when the other gods are in their cups,

as Balor puts it. He’s been holding up the game,
afraid to look at his cards, but no one says anything:
even Gods know better than to pick fights

with one-eyed giants. Jesus keeps hitting
bad cards. He sips wine, mutters Eli, Eli
under his breath. Peter’s been pestering him

for an invite. Since he’s infallible, has keys
to heaven, he thinks he qualifies, but they refuse:
what’s a club where anyone can join?

There’s been a stir recently, some no-name trickster
with a Vaseline smile calling himself a god,
holding forth at the Casino Buffet, dealing

Aces to anyone who asks. The gods all agree,
say his type is small time, but Zeus isn’t so sure.
He’s got a splitting headache, is all in

with a low pair. He’s getting older,
learning what worship’s all about,
how much someone would give to turn

things around, just for a minute, just
to show that beautiful Ace of Spades,
scoop that pile of chips, call yourself

blessed, for one hand, blessed.