by Joseph Kerschbaum

She stands by the velvet rope.
Keeps minors out of the casino.  
Watching her father stand at a table with
his back to her.  She isn't dressed like the whores.
Yellow sunshine dress. Sky blue shoes. Frail
like a twig she begins to twitch with impatience.
She waits for the man who impregnated her mother.

She kicks her feet against the rug with boredom.
He fat father always takes too long.
No one notices her.

The bright lights glitter through a haze of smoke.
A mad city where an ace and a king
can pave the way to the promise land.

The man with thinning hair, large nose,
yellow teeth, fat neck
throws the dice
with as much concentration
as everything else in his life lacks.

Whores cling to winners. They show off their capped teeth,
large wigs, and breast implants. Like some twisted contest
for the manufactured beauties and the drunk, lonely judges
who slip the hundreds
in their hands.

The hired help wear their smiles like nametags, and ask if
anyone would like to place a bet.
And no one notices.

Through the bathroom doors
no one notices a thin  young  man
cloaked in black follow the girl.

The laughter and the lounge singers
drown out the whimpers.

A moment of climax later
no one notices the young man
leave the stall and drive
back to his hotel in his blue escort
with a smile on his face.

No one notices the little girl
in the stall.  
Naked. Strangled. Alone.

They had winning to do.

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