In Your Casino Dream

by Michael Diebert

You and your new friends in a leather booth
inside a giant chandelier. Fancy blazers and ties.
From here you see it all. All the losing
is downstairs. This smell, you smell it
consistently in this hotel—
the perfume of disappointment,
sicklier than car freshener, stronger than Lysol.
The menu is pink watercolor
on parchment. Everything is in Basque.
Your server thrusts her fists skyward
and says they're out of food
except for the popcorn and the watercress
but she can bring drinks
until the cows come home.
The tall man in your party crawls
underneath the table, toots his noisemaker.
You rise and excuse yourself.
The bathroom mirror beams back
a rhinoceros napping in the middle of a stagnant pond.
On the way out you're given a Blood and Sand
on the rocks. You are in the middle
of ranks and ranks of soldiers,
rigid in camouflage band uniforms,
playing their rifles like clarinets,
marching to the same silent anthem.
It takes but a second for you to fall in line.

Michael Diebert is the author of Life Outside the Set, available from Sweatshoppe Publications. Other recent work has appeared in The Comstock Review and the Georgia volume of Texas Review Press’s Southern Poetry Anthology series. He is poetry editor for The Chattahoochee Review and teaches writing and literature at Georgia Perimeter College in Atlanta.

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