In the city of sin the dizzy wheel spun
twirling glittering talons of light.
He closed his burning eyes,
raw lids squeezed out the tears
and in the hot, pale glow within
appeared the faces of those he loved.
The smooth deck spilled, splashing blood,
toppling the pile of white chips.
In the polished surface beneath he saw
strangers stripping his palaces,
strangers driving his chariots,
strangers sifting the leftovers.
The cunning wheel stopped
the crimson knave laughed
and in the distance slowly,
the gathering scavengers stirred.
'Don weeds, precious ones
huddle up for a long journey;
the dice are loaded.
See! see! the spotted ivory winks!'
[From The Used Book]
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