She is always the wheelbarrow—a piece
he can’t grasp. He is the cannon.
They never deal out property; the Deluxe
Edition, they’d rather fight with each roll
over New York and Boardwalk, Railroads
and Utilities. He’s yet to own Boardwalk,
but he manages to swindle the Railroads.
Occasionally, he is lucky to land in jail,
where he doesn’t have to mortgage property
to pay rent. She buys hotels early, casts
him to the ghetto of Baltic. Once, he boasted
three monopolies and won Free Parking.
They place $500 in Free Parking. He bagged
his earnings from the middle, revealing
the mustached man with his shoulders
shrugged, hat tipped. The man winked at a stack
of pastels tucked under her edge of town.
The game was fixed. She kept drawing
the good cards from Community Chest
and Chance. Her husband lived in the suburbs
and she was his landlord. Like his father,
he slipped off and got drunk on Boardwalk,
gallivanted for a while. It cost him everything—
she owned that, too. Fed up, he took out a loan
at 10 percent interest, paid her and passed Go,
collected two hundred dollars and made a run for it.
He got as far as Pennsylvania before she caught
him stealing her hotel shampoo. Clogged
barrel, she broke him. She gave the worst smile:
Cook me supper and I’ll let you stay.
Copyright © 2013 Kerry James Evans
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.