your body is a casino

Heather Taylor Johnson
Content Warnings
"Feel that gnaw? Your body’s sweet to the dark vermin today,..."
Dec 28, 2020 9:51 PM

Feel that gnaw? Your body’s sweet to the dark vermin today,

their main course in an all-you-can-eat free buffet open 24/7

so you have to wonder how much weight will you lose this time,

sickness ordering shots from a cocktail waitress, jangling money

in your face, knows power is a winner’s game. You lose your chips

but it’s part of the deal, all these people stepping around the mess

as you lay beating on the steam-cleaned floor. Where’s the fucking

emergency door? You ask me how I got so smart, well I ordered room

service two months ago – do you think they let me laze about waiting?

Life is full of spectacle, you must learn to love bloodshot so you can

look yourself in the eye. I learned long ago that gambling’s about fear

and innocence, odds are you’re not the worst off in the room, but still

when the cleaners come they breathe into their collars, the stench

like nothing they’ve ever known: call it vermin belch. Busted.

Heather Taylor-Johnson is an American Australian writer. Her latest books are the novel Jean Harley was Here and the poetry collection Meanwhile, the Oak, as well as Shaping the Fractured Self: Poetry of Chronic Illness and Pain, which she edited. She is an Adjunct Research Fellow at the J M Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice at the University of Adelaide in South Australia.