They try to tell me
it's my tainted past
that's caught up with me

all the sins of my youth
now cracking the bone,
splitting the skin,
poisoning the soul...

who are they trying to kid?
As fragile and fleeting
as this world is,
my memories are the only thing
holding me together


It had been that kind of morning;
the pelvic cramping and blood spotting
warning me of a possible loss

I wanted to turn down our
big trip to Reno; we'd planned
months in advance for it,
mapping our course, saving our money,
hoping to hit it big to dig us out of
the hole we were in, never expecting
a third person to come along for the ride

I didn't think I should go--
thought I should stay off my feet,
knowing there might still be a chance
to redeem, however slim, but I give in,
sitting motionless in the car; quiet,
watching life slip by through the
window, moments gone in the blink
of an eye; you, even unaware of the
situation, chatter endlessly on,
taking my silence as mere trepidation
of losing

The casino looms like an all-knowing
demon. I follow you, unseeing, through
the overly-bright building, hearing
coins dropping, bells ringing, everybody
happy and carefree, and me, knowing there
would be no sense in fighting a battle
already halfway lost, walking freely
amongst the happy people, a murderer of
hope, a bucket of coins clutched tight
in my sweating grasp, abusing each precious
moment, eventually pushing the coin
through the slot, pulling the lever,
taking my chances, knowing the ball had
already dropped, now rolling completely
beyond reach, no stopping at all, no
going back


Sitting limply
next to me on the front seat, you
still had strength enough to lick
my face, even though I had brought
you to a place where you wouldn't
come back

Loving you more than life, I tried
to bolster myself while slipping the
keys from the ignition, your one,
unbandaged eye trained weakly on me,
awaiting my touch on your now-gray
fur as I sat, pushing the minutes
away, trying to fight another outburst,
finally pulling you roughly from the
car to pretend I didn't care, not
feeling the sun warm on my back, or
your tangle of fur soft in my hands,
watching the bandage loosen and fall
free, the small patch of bloody gauze
so vivid against the dingy pavement
the only image I remember clearly
before taking you inside to die

Cynthia Ruth Lewis:
I'm 38, having written poetry for the past 17 years. Currently back in the publishing
world after having taken a 2 year hiatus due to creative apathy and temporary insanity--
which, actually may have enhanced my writing. It has certainly enhanced my weirdness.

2005 Underground Voices