Eight Ball

Eight Ball
by Claudia Emerson
It was fifty cents a game
       beneath exhausted ceiling fans,
the smoke’s old spiral. Hooded lights
       burned distant, dull. I was tired, but you
insisted on one more, so I chalked
       the cue—the bored blue—broke, scratched.
It was always possible
       for you to run the table, leave me
nothing. But I recall the easy
       shot you missed, and then the way
we both studied, circling—keeping
       what you had left me between us.

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