Grace is when you get something good
you don’t deserve;
An unexpected kindness,
A blindside forgiveness.
Growing up, this was a lesson I never fully learned.
All the love I ever got,
I thought it had to be earned.
Grace is the way that fate saves face.
When your number comes up,
When you draw an inside straight.
When the roulette ball lands on black
Or the night you never threw a craps.
But you can’t even roll the dice
If you haven’t paid a price.
It’s too late now.
I, a middle-aged mediocre man,
Am tired, too tired to play.
I’ve been played and plied
By pale-faced, black-vested croupiers
On every corner, in every town.
I’ve lost all verve
Almost effortlessly on the verge
of losing my nerve.
They bring my dinner.
The steam rises from the plate.
Rice and beef and sautéed onions.
Everyone bows their heads
And whispers the husked words
While I tabulate how many surgeries
Reaped this desultory abundance.
I can’t help it, it makes everyone irate:
Numbers tell you scores and sums and years.
I’m always counting up the arrears.
If only someone would have mercy.
Waive all intentions of vengeance,
Instruct me in the ways of penance:
No matter how tersely