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It’s autumn,

A cold night between the eaves,

We’re playing poker

In the loft space,

Piling cards on an old tea chest,

A make shift desk

In the near dark,

As the wind,

Ominous as a disembodied voice,

Drags drawn out vowels

On the roof,

Then flings them away

You smile, choose from

The untidy heap

It’s your turn

To make a deal;

Your chance to ace,

Club the queens,

Bury me deck deep

With a black spade,

Steep the loss,

Collect the chips,

Make sure nothing comes cheap,

Take the uppermost leaf

From the diamonds folding

At the top of the house

Make some slight

Under the slant of slate,

A room seemingly freight

With winning and losing

And slipping and using

What we have into the game,

No tricks,

Only measured play,

The capacity for woe, worry,

Elation, the power

To berate making their way

As spectators,

Perhaps passion

Arriving late

Your smile widens,

Though I keep an impassive face;

Anticipation acting chief

As our hands are revealed,

You have only drawn hearts

At the point of defeat,

And I understand

In love, there is no triumph

To be had,

Nor small victories to keep,

As the reward is in surprise

When doubt is relieved