At the Pool Hall

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Liz Ahl

At the Pool Hall


      He slaps another twenty
      on the billiard table’s edge
      and teeters once again
      upon the gambler’s narrow ledge.

      All night his luck has plummeted,
      though he won’t call it luck.
      It’s more like there’s a muscle
      or a joint that’s gotten stuck.

      He could have ambled barward;
      he could have said, “enough.”
      He could have made excuses
      or pulled off some other bluff,

      but the black hole of the eight ball
      has a force that pulls him in.
      And it’s really not a gamble
      if he knows he’s going to win.