Smokey Joe taught her to deal Black Jack on their honeymoon thirty years ago. In their small town of Ryder, one Saturday a month the Starlite Roller Rink converts into an arena where amateurs box and wrestle in front of the population. After, she deals a few hands to the old boys in the back. If she can tell who is down on their luck, she will take a card on a hard seventeen. Other times she relies on seeing Smokey’s face in the atmosphere behind the head of the man in need. It was easier before the No Smoking laws. His face would appear in the smoke. Now, everyone has to step outside, and the air in the room is clear. She misses him.

Melanie Dunbar is a Master Gardener who lives in Southwest Michigan with her husband, youngest son and their rooster, Mr. Beautiful.  Her poems can be found in the Silver Birch Press Where I Live series, Your Impossible Voice, and are forthcoming in Gargoyle and Sweet: A Literary Confection.