Texas Hold-em

by Rodger Martin

Working Hands by Jeffrey C. Dickler

How the chainsaw’s tenor sings
its puffery of dominance, its song
resonates to the acoustics of the forest.
The echo of the crack, the snap, the rip of limbs, then
the impact’s deep thud, a minor quake that hurts,
as loggers fell one after another—all before breakfast—
mutes who have stood there for decades.
Do not mock these evolutionary experiments.
The table, the cabinets, the floor all attest
to complicity. Nature never relinquishes
her seat at the table, expertly shuffles cards,
deals from the top of the deck. Banned from Vegas,
she arrives anyway. Wise ones give her a cut
knowing her bland inscrutability
outwits every shark hairless apes have ever produced.


Texas Hold’em, Poetry Bridging Continents III: A Selection of the Chinese and American New Pastoral Poems, p. 5, Yancheng Teachers Univ., PRC, November 2019.


Rodger Martin’s third poetry volume The Battlefield Guide, published by Hobblebush Books, uses locations on battlefields of the Civil War to reflect upon America today. Small Press Review selected his chapbook The Blue Moon Series (Hobblebush Books) as its bi-monthly pick of the year. A translation of his work On The Monadnock appeared in China in 2006. His new book of poems For All The Tea in Zhōngguó (Hobblebush Books) is in two languages.

Jeffrey C. Dickler, a native of Brooklyn, New York, was transplanted to the Midwest after his formative years. His love of the outdoors grew from summers at his grandfather’s Camp Iroquois on Frost Pond in Jaffrey, New Hampshire. By age four he already had hiked to the peak of Mount Monadnock. Later family trips to the American Southwest and National Parks cemented his love of exploring nature with a pack on his back and camera in hand. In 2017 he retired to the Monadnock region. He lives with his wife, Deni, and their four-legged companion, Willy Waggins, in Rindge, New Hampshire.