Egyptian Rat Screw (Or, ERS)

Abigail M. Woods

Samuel slams his palm on the table,
Roaring with his victory like a lion over his prey.
Zach’s body shakes with laughter, aggressively
Rattling the table. This game, not life or death,
Yet still so crucial to the livelihood of this moment.
Richard is pouting, half-asleep on the couch.
Logan is swirling the green apple wine in her glass
As if there is a cheese that could pair with a jolly-rancher.
She’s watching the escalation unfold. Sammy, gloating, pulls
His stack from the tabletop and into his deck, shuffling
To get them all straight, and each of us lean back down
Into position. Sam flips his card and the chaos ensued, again.
Seven of clubs,
Two of diamonds,
King of hearts,
Two of diamonds.
My hand sends ripples through the table as it lands on its target –
Unobstructed. I grab my stack and laugh, staring Sam down.
As previously discussed, this is my game. Zachary cackled, “watch it,
Samuel, you’ll summon the beast.” He reached over to pat my head.
I start to defend myself from the accusations but the
Red head in the kitchen is having none of it, screeching
“You have a scar from it on your hand, Abigail!”
She whips her body around the corner to stare me down
As if to say, “Abigail, be real here, you’re the most competitive person
I’ve ever met.” Flashing before my eyes, I realize that I am happier
In this moment than I have noticed in a while. Sam’s still throwing
Taunts onto the wobbly coffee table, and the coffee table is
Questioning whether it will make it through another round of this
Ridiculous game.

These are the people I live for


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Bridge the Distance: An Oral History of COVID-19 in Poems Copyright © 2021 by Abigail M. Woods is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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