Fifty-Fifty Chance

by Michael Larrain

for Wilder Kathleen, at twenty-one months, dancing in Tomales, California

Going from room to room
you're the girl who never stops stealing home
Please don't ever lose your wild tomboy's heart
your headlong scrambling grace
Happiness can seem
like a trick of the light
Your love life might hook foul at the last instant
A friend may perish
in the time it takes to turn your head
But if you keep on rockin' that full-tilt boogie
in the face of misadventure and busted luck
even your smash-ups your break-ups and your dust-ups
will hand you a laugh
Your father has never owned a new car
written a check
or learned how to tie a necktie
In the world's eyes
this guy's about to hop his last freight
So where would he get off telling you how to live your life?
This may be his only piece of sound advice
Accelerate through the curves
of your romances your travels and your work
and you'll feel a dark wriggle passing through you
like a shadow over a river shivering with delight
Oh, yeah,
One more thing
Never set your drink down on the floor
There's a fifty-fifty chance it'll get knocked over