Texas Hold ‘Em

Texas Hold ‘Em

she got so little
of what she wanted
and needed
that she'd climb
up on the couch
to sit
by her father
as he studied
texas hold 'em

it was something
a bit of attention
at least
him
instructing her
of the strategies
and all about
poker face
and bluffing
as it unfolded 
on TV

now
when he calls for a game
at the back room
of the bar
she's the first one
he phones

she always comes
with a purse 
full of money
and she always plays
very well

when she wins
at her father's expense
as she usually does
he can still smile
from across the table
proud and satisfied
with what he's
taught her

he can smile
at his losses
understanding
his daughter's
stoic
clandestine 
long-play strategy
hustling less
for her winning
than to ensure
her father's losses
far outweigh 
his gains
in her way
of evening the score
with texas hold 'em

but her father
a lifelong
fine hustler himself
understands
her rules
and accepts them
along with the losses
so when the game ends
and just before parting
they can embrace
and when she returns
his
"i love you"
it means
far more
than it would
without
either
of their
hustles

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