Exit Strategy

Exit Strategy
by Le Hinton

I imagine I was dreaming
about meditation—
a tan dog in the back yard
staring Buddha-like at a white rabbit.

I don’t believe in sleep anymore.

It was an ontological riddle
that tripped the rat trap.

Which side of utopia is buttered?

I play my fifth game of hearts
since Judge Judy came on
and get stuck with the queen of spades.

Neither wears make-up well.

I have one heart remaining in my hand, an 8,
plus a menacing 9 of clubs behind my back,
Nothing up my sleeve.

Aunt Bert says count the cards.
But thirteen is off in the distance
and the souls of my shoes are no longer holy.

I count the Count instead.

The pluses and the minuses congregate
in the center to exchange kisses,
like godfathers.

Buddha-dog buries the rabbit under a willow
as my cards march to the edge of the cliff.

We miss the moon.

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