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No-Name Bingo Club, a poem by Marissa Rose

No-Name Bingo Club
by Marissa Rose

Named for want of anonymity
or lack of creativity, it’s anyone’s guess—
dead nights and a vacant parking lot
both transformed by that institution
setting up snap-leg folding tables
in an old store-front, Sunday nights in town.
Not holy enough for night church?
Pay your looseleaf dollars and unfold
your chair among the long, brown rows.
It was not a brotherhood—
the prizes were canned peas or a bus pass—
but a queer girl could do worse,
stamping daubers the color of road vests
over a grid that looked the same
each time you played. You could feel lucky
when luck was doled out evenly
between you and the octogenarians,
and if the numbers didn’t jag
in stair-steps toward your favor,
at least they never tried
to save your soul.
It went the way most places went:
there, and then not. The town
did not spin off its axis, or even,
after a time, recall what the paneled walls
once held. Sometimes the carnies
would set up ski-ball and a ferris wheel
in the parking lot, spinning glitz
incomparable to the cage of numbers
that once bubbled and called out for you.

Marissa Rose's work has previously appeared in Tangerine Magazine, Facing LGBTQ Pride, and Raleigh Review, among others. In 2016, she was a finalist for Poet Laureate of the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 and was selected as the representative poet for Delaware County, Indiana, in the collection, Mapping the Muse: A Bicentennial Look at Indiana Poetry.