The Lottery, 1971

My cousin guessed
you didn’t feel a grenade
or a mine explode,
“felt nothing forever.”

But if a deadly number
wasn’t picked from
the big glass jar,
he’d live twice.

His parents wanted him
to settle down,
a wife, kids,
scarf in a steel mill.

But what was he going
to “settle down from?”

He’d played football,
been voted “most
popular,” only dated nice girls.

And why did he need,
at his age, a little house,
little kids running wild?

He wanted to live like
those guys in the movie,
the one we saw at the drive-in.

He’d never ridden a Harley
to Mardi Gras, “did it”
with a hooker in
a cemetery.

And what was wrong
with smoking a “little pot,
maybe a lot?”

He’d smoke it and let his hair
grow long, turn
into someone
not even his friends,
his own people knew.

William Miller is a widely-published poet and children’s author. His poems have appeared in many journals, including Prairie Schooner, West Branch and Verse. He lives in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

This entry was posted in Poetry and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.