Power Ball

“Be warned!”
from above
the disembodied one commands
gas nozzle in my grip
pumping in
the two eighty five fuel
I listen
“you may need,” it says
…what may I need I wonder…
“a few extra minutes,” she says
for I have identified the voice as female
“When filling
the tank
of a limousine,”
the invocation pauses dramatically
the pump clicks off
in the silence
twenty eight dollars
and eighty four cents
the meter reads
another gouge into the savings
on top of the pile
of bills waiting at home
three ninety three
for the electric company
forty for natty gaz
eighty seven to text
“Buy milk” at over four bones a gal.
an endless dripping water torture of funds
I look skyward in desperation
but I see no sky
just the grime encrusted underside
of the shelter
where there is a mounted speaker
it crackles
and the woman offers me a solution
a way out of the trap
“Try your luck,” she says
“Play the California State Lottery today,”
my gaze remains locked overhead
“At last!” I cry
clasp my hands
drop to my knees
tears trail down my cheeks
“An offer of real salvation
of Heavenly reward
right here
On Earth
and I dig deep into my pockets
filled with the spirit
bursting with redemptive dreams
I buy the ticket
I tithe to the state
I choose my numbers
I scratch for revelation
clawing at it
as if at my own flesh
the truth hidden underneath
you gotta pay to play
and you can’t win if you don’t


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