Savior, Steve Deutsch

In her last years
mom took to the lottery
like a robed devotee
takes to prayer.

Each morning at eleven
she would darken the boxes
of the day’s lottery picks,
carefully transcribing
from a penciled crib sheet.
She would no more
have the computer choose numbers
than make her coffee
in one of those
automated eyesores
soon to leave our planet
knee-deep in plastic pods.

Every evening
she would station herself
by the console television
and take down the numbers
as the ping pong balls
popped out of pneumatic tubes.
She won fifty dollars once
but never the big score—
the uncountable mega-millions.

We never spoke of it
but deep down
mom believed
she would make things right.
In a family
significant only in disappointment
she would redeem us all.

Today I pause in a supermarket—
a thousand miles from where she is buried
to buy five lottery tickets.
I let the computer pick random numbers,
although I still use her old Bialetti for coffee.
The jackpot is hundreds of millions
and for a heartbeat,
I imagine myself a winner.
It’s only money,
but as mom would say,
“how could it hurt?”

*

Over the past two years, Steve Deutsch’s work has appeared in over 2 dozen journals. He was nominated for Pushcart Prizes in 2017 and 2018. His Chapbook, “Perhaps You Can,” was published in 2019 by Kelsay Press. His full length book, Persistence of Memory will be published in September, again by Kelsay Press.

Steve Deutsch recommends “The Lanyard” by Billy Collins.

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