The house wins
again, and the house wins,
like before, even when the house loses
the occasional hand
or odd spin of the wheel

The house wins
by attrition, by practice,
taking on all comers
who think they can beat the house,
but don’t, because
the house wins—
red or black, hit
on nineteen or twelve,

Yet we come back because
the house wins
and when outside
everything is left to chance
that certain certainty
turns to comfort  
in hearing, again,
the house wins.

we would stay out,
or walk away,
or find the will
to build our own damned house.

—J. D. Smith, Washington, D.C.