Ups and Downs by Cyndi MacMillan
Ups and Downs
We’d snuck into a single malt, a circus
of two. His family left for the weekend,
while mine had left function behind years
ago. I wasn’t missed. It’d begun innocent
enough, looking for Trouble, wondering
if it’d end in Sorry! I frowned at Life &
the boy didn’t have a Clue. I chose Snakes
& Ladders. He said, New rules. Land on
a viper, more than a token’s goin’ down.
Bottle to mouth, I nearly choked on the
promise. I upped him, put on a poker face,
drawled like I’d done it all before, Let’s
do this, strip style. He turns on the stereo,
low, lower; Brian Ferry enslaved us as
clothes made a grid of the floor. I held my
breath with each roll, devilishly, urged him
to dash past all virtues, while still so timid
of vices. His hand traveled, took the next
step. My young heart stopped, slid with his
piece. But I gave him an out. He just smiled,
said Shh, I won’t bite. Besides, the game's
just gettin’ started. And I’ve got all night.
This poem was written for the 20 Poem Challenge.
Cyndi MacMillan poetry has recently appeared in Grain Magazine and the Fieldstone Review. Her verse, short fiction and novel-in-progress resentfully compete for her attention. She lives in New Hamburg, Ontario, home to North America’s largest working water wheel. Coffee and family allow ideas to percolate.
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