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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.