House of Cards by Shaun R. Pankoski

House of Cards

I never left the house yesterday,
except to open the gate
so the cat could venture
through a tunnel she made in the grass
at the vacant lot next door.
Searching for the big-headed tom
that she loves to fight with,
she came home at 2am, soaking wet.

Tuesday I met a friend for lunch.
We ate mediocre Mexican food
and talked mostly about her father
who had recently died in hospice.
The whole time, I kept thinking
of the last time we ate together.
She told me then that she thought
Trump had some good ideas.

When I got my diagnosis,
it occurred to me that I probably
wouldn’t live long enough
to cook all the recipes
I had clipped and collected. That,
and who would take care of the cat.
But I still clip recipes, buy the ingredients.
I have an appetite now.

My baby brother, once my heart,
came home on a hot July day,
went into his bedroom and shut the door.
When his wife went in to check,
she started to scold him
for not removing his shoes before lying down.
He was dead. For this, and other reasons,
I hate my birthday.


Shaun R. Pankoski (she/her) is a poet most recently from Volcano, Hawaii. A retired county worker and two time breast cancer survivor, she has lived on both coasts as well as the midwest as an artist’s model, modern dancer, massage therapist and honorably discharged Air Force veteran. Her poems have appeared in The Ekphrastic Review and Verse-Virtual. She will soon be a featured Storyteller of the Week in Storyteller Poetry Review.

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