Momma sent me to bring daddy home for dinner,
but I wouldn’t open the heavy glass door
until I heard him Shoot the Moon!
So I pressed my ear against the
black-painted windows of Smith's domino parlor
listening for my father's voice to rise
above the rapid fire click clack of six
simultaneous games of moon.

I thought the game must have been named
for the small ivory dots I was not yet old enough—
could not count fast enough—
to join in the game with the men, when,
after last suppers at family reunions, they
gathered ‘round an old folding table set up
under a broad cottonwood and played
far into the night, long after the real moon
dropped like a quarter into the velvet pocket
of the western horizon.

Sometimes I would fall asleep under the table
mesmerized by my grandpa's worn black socks
bunched up around his swollen ankles.
Near dawn, my father, smelling of cigarettes and beer,
carried me to my bed where I dreamed of a domino train,
its horn trumpeting Moooooonnn to the stars.

Originally published in Concho River Review. Copyright © 2012 by Jeanetta Calhoun Mish. Published with the permission of the author.