Ottawa's Festival of Ideas Since 1997

Poker Night

Folding.
That word is not in my mind
My body starts to slowly tense
Time to bet.
“Raise! Ten chips.” I shout.
In this game there is no call
Only the two killers,
Raise or fold.
I’m on the wooden auditorium stage
Spotlights illuminate our faces.
The dealer asks my enemy what her move is
That person I call enemy is one of the best gamblers in school.

Her name
Monika Bing.
Monika decides to raise me 20 chips
She looks deeply into my round brown eyes
Wearing a smug smirk masking her face
Poker chips are worth 500 dollars
Right here and right now
On the table there is 7,000,000,000 dollars.
We’re all from rich families
But that doesn’t matter.
Nothing matters
Except my...
LIFE!
I’m in no position to lose!
I am human
But that little voice in the back of my head tells me not for long.

“Showdown!” yells the dealer
My hand is strong
I can do this.
Here goes nothing.
“Full house!” I scream, slicing the glass table with my cards.
My opponent stares. No emotion.