The Gamble: A 2016 Poem

RoyalFlush.jpg

A lot of crazy things happened in the world in 2016, but the following poem is more of a reflection of a personal journey of which I am still chaotically in process than a commentary on recent events. I hope it can encourage you in your own life story.

Near the beginning of the year, I decided to gamble on bringing something I had stuffed away for 10 years to the surface. It has not produced the result I was hoping for, but deep down I always knew it probably would not . . . this year has been hard, but God has been good to me through music, writing, counseling, family, and friends.

I’m limping into these first few days of 2017 with a wounded, yet living hope (1 Peter 1:3-5).

The Gamble
by Lindsey Snyder
I never expected to win,
to lay out my cards:
coy smile, Royal Flush

 

well maybe
a 1 in 175,000,000 powerball chance

 

best chance I’d ever have
so why not try?

 

but with only one ticket
the odds were never in my favor
so why can’t I accept that I’ve lost?

 

spent all my money
at the slot machines
trying to get
twenty-four cherries in a row

 

empty pockets, hands, heart
slowly admitting the longings and losses
opening up to higher winnings

 

this I know:
bankrupt hearts are primed to be dealt
a new hand
once they can learn to fold

Run to Beauty!

i.

IMG_2986run! run to beauty!

 

ii.

 

IMG_2990a silhouette couple

stares into the distance

phones up – in sync –

an instagrammable moment.

phones down – together again –

perfectly petrified pixels,

but not at all like the real thing.

 

they can’t turn away

and neither can i

the orange and pink

keep reaching, reaching towards infinity

and i almost reach back . . .

 

instead, i too reach for my phone

a 3×5 disgrace of a copy and—

i turn and run for home.

 

iii.

IMG_2989my rebel t3i high-definition could capture this but the futility becomes apparent when i realize my camera was left at work undeterred i bound up stairs past sister and friend in a frenzy ask where my sister’s camera is but she doesn’t know so i shout i must capture beauty my friend replies you can’t capture beauty but i barely hear and the camera is found and i grasp it in victory turn it on the battery is dead.

at this point i just need to see it again so i run down sidewalks i’ve walked a hundred times the colors retreating from pleading eyes, darkening behind Nashville’s own Giant’s Causeway at Dragon Park and my heart sinks as i

r          e          a          c          h

as blazing sky-fingers

turn back into sun’s palm

yet from the horizon, a lingering song:

iv.

IMG_2993run! run to beauty!

the fleeting makes it fair

old age, cancer, shootings, fear

the fleeting you can bear

stop running, mind, towards what you hate

start running, heart, towards greater grace

oh fragile feelings, fleeting too,

beauty one day will stay with you