Playing Cards with Vicky’s Dad – Wendy Klein

Playing Cards with Vicky’s Dad

Rolly Rolicheck came from a place so strange
that my friend Vicky, his own little girl,

could not pronounce it. His cheekbones were high
in his puffy face, pressing his eyes

into narrow green slits like pistachio nuts half-split.
Dodie, his wife, worked at the soda fountain

in the bus depot, her great breasts just the right height
to rest on the counter as she drew us ice cold cokes

on our way home from school, her pink tongue flicking
a flake of tobacco stuck in her fuchsia lipstick —

bottom lip, Pall Malls — unfiltered. But it was Rolly,
home from work early, who welcomed us

onto his big lap, both of us at once, taking out
his special playing cards

that showed us coloured photos about what men
and women did with their clothes off.

Wrapped tight in his hairy arms, we would giggle. Folks said
Dodie Rolicheck was a tart, pitied poor old Rolly,

but when they disappeared that last summer,
I missed my friend, Vicky.

Wendy Klein has 3 collections: ‘Cuba in the Blood’ and ‘Anything in Turquoise’ (2009, 20013, Cinnamon Press), ‘Mood Indigo’ ( 2016, Oversteps), and a selected ‘Into the Blue’, High Window Press (2019).  An illustrated film of her recent pamphlet, ‘Let Battle Commence’ appears on You-tube https://youtu.be/L2JlbpAdUcU

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