court of the common plea


We are already deeply weary
when we start another
age old game of Hearts.
we don’t even have to be in a room with humans.
we can joust over the internet.

on a quiet New Year’s Eve
addictively, the Lone Hart and I,
groaning our losses on Instant Emissary,
play a hundred hands,
so computers chronicle for us.
recording pure waste of time.
hour on hour.
the colorful stoic cards
bring us passively into
where sleep will not find us
despite the promise of small white pills.

we spar with the Court.
we play against
Invincible. Invisible. Bedeviled forces of
mute patterns etched into circuit boards,
with the intent to confound.

She argues again over Instant chat.
‘Just one more time.
I know the scheme.’

I remind her, we can’t win at Hearts.
aspiring for 2 out of 3, or 4 of 5.
we cannot hold all.

I will skirmish no more
with the always

her voice crackles through the line,
‘I am drawn and quartered.’

my hands dissolve.
I can only hope
it is Dawn’s welcome light?

no, it is the low battery signal blinking
‘Are you sure you want to end this game?
Would you like to play again?’
I bow to the Court of the King.


  1. This was all so well done. I know it is juvenile of me but the following lines appeal to me for the humor:

    it is Dawn’s welcome light?
    no, it is the low battery signal blinking

    1. cards hmmm. ya know me cheryl i am STILLL at my older age than you…. unable to sit and play CARD games!!!! i would say physical games, sports on the tube. peRADES… rock on

  2. filled with the true feelings that go with wishing for sleep–modern counting of sheep, for some the beads of prayer or sounds of jazz on the radio.

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