A head full of cards and Mahjong bets from the night before

Hangs over me

Late nights cascade like a waterfall of regrets into the next morning

I rub my face trying to figure the last time I showered

Resting my hand on his warm head, my worries evaporate

Triggering a memory of waking up early and watching mist burning away on the lake

A handful of hearts is no substitute for this kind of love

As I prepare his food, I know he could give a shit

That I grew up in a cult with strange Sunday preaching picnics

He just wants me to sit down on the thread-bare couch and pet his belly

He is my noble beast

I don’t deserve him, but I’d be lost without him

“Hey buddy, should I plant my weed garden this summer?” I ask him

But somehow that idea becomes less interesting my body drained of enthusiasm

As I pour myself another whiskey and start counting my stash

The warmth flushes through me and I wonder

Can I bet on my hopes and dreams?

He sleeps beside me making snorty noises

Watching his feet twitch, I wonder what he dreams about

I get up and leave my sleeping prince and go to the bedroom

I slip my hand under my pillow and run my fingers reassuringly over the hard-cold metal of the gun

I tuck it in the waistband of my pants

Now I am alert and full of electricity like a third rail

Sitting in my dank kitchen I light another cigarette and tip back in my chair

Instinctively, I sit with my back to the wall so I can see the room in full view

Planning the best escape route if necessary

For now, I am watching the neighbors across the way having sex in the early morning

I know soon I will be back to my routine of more smoky nights and bad bets

If I play my cards right, I get to come home to Lucky, my dog

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