My Father's Final Letter

If you can keep your head when all about you
 Are tapping out and damning rotten breaks;
If you can hold your nerve when others doubt you
 And muster guts to double up the stakes;

If you can collar buddies with your sinew
 To back you up when you run out of hay,
Or skin some tourist rabbits to continue
 Roulette or Craps until the break of day;

If you can curse—but also be well-spoken
 To any badge who dumps you out for cheating,
And dusting off and finding nothing's broken,
 Return disguised and give a cordial greeting;

If you can make a heap of all your winnings
 And risk it on a single spin or toss,
And losing, play on credit underpinning,
 And never tell the wife about your loss—

If debt upsets you only for a minute,
 And if you trust in luck's upcoming run,
Then you will live a life that knows no limit!

 P.S. Spare your Dad some cash, my Son?

by Barbara Lydecker Crane

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A former quilt artist, Barbara Lydecker Crane of Somerville, MA created fabric landscapes now in private, public, and museum collections. In 2011 she won the Helen Schaible Sonnet Contest, and in 2012 she published a chapbook of humorous poetry (including several parodies) entitled Zero Gravitas (White Violet Press). As a quiltmaker, her income was pretty paltry. As a poet it's positively puny. Fortunately her husband is gainfully employed.