Oscar Mireles

B-I-N-G-O Is Not A Four Letter Word - Poem by Oscar Mireles

used to be the name
of someones’s dog
in a grade school song

now it is a legalized form
of big time gambling
for an old woman
straddling a crutch
with a withered arm
as she enter the Bingo parlor

she is sitting in the front row now
to make sure she doesn’t miss
any of the numbers called

next to her
a sweating bearded man
who rings a tiny Christmas bell
every time I-22 is called

I guess he won $1,000
on that lucky number I-22
and he needs the good luck
especially today
because it is crowded
the first week of the month
always is
‘cause of the holy trinity of government checks
social security

it seems like everyone
is smoking cigarettes
or coughing

coarse fingers crossed
around strands of hair
being twisted
dark eyes looking at the
glow of the bingo screen
and back on their cards
without blinking

like a Four Star General
going over his strategy
on a war map

you can hear the tension
stomachs growl
fingernails scratch the bingo cards
in anticipation

finally the bingo lady
and someone in the back
who was not really paying attention
and who has never been here before
screams B-I-N-G-O

and the rest of the crowd murmurs
and start to scrape
the blue chips
back into
their little casket shape box

hoping they will fall
in the right place

…next time
…next time
…next time

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Poem Submitted: Friday, January 6, 2006

Poem Edited: Sunday, January 8, 2006

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