The Scratch machine dispenses fun
in little pictures. You choose one
as flat and bright as a cartoon
of GI Joe and his platoon.
When no one sees, you take a shot
and feed the only bill you've got
that's crisp enough into the slot
And then just stand there,
deep in the thrall of a riddle, a dare,
as behind the illuminated rows,
the deus ex machina inside it slows,
and drops into your waiting hand
whatever fate Fat Chance has planned—
lose five bucks, win fifty grand.
Beneath the chartered camouflage,
the pink flamingos and Macaws,
you scrape away with black thumbnail,
as if it were the Seventh Seal,
or sweetheart's answer come by mail—
you're deemed a loser by those laws
no one can trespass or appeal.