A child gambles in petroleum country

In  by June 11, 2021
T he indigo amphora of night slowly fills with light.

Its sapphire body dawns through cobalt, to lapis, before the sky flattens into an azure plate that the sparrows crawl on like ants.

My favorite marble had the depth of predawn sky, from oceanic core to atmospheric edge of teal. The size of my eye, brought near, trails of tiny bubbles were revealed—yet smaller universes spun within its cool vista.

We children gambled with our marbles: Cats-eyes, irised yellow and red, chased one another through the asphalt schoolyard.

“Crystals” were the special prizes: clear like an ice sphere, green or blue like a planet, a rare garnet red. They would be the last out of a pocket and gone.

I never played my blue marble, only took it out to look—instant azure joy.

But as gamblers do, we played until all were cleaned out. All except for the bullies who could end any game by shouting, pockets full, and storming away.

One day, my eyes told them I held back. So “Play it, play it!” they yelled

... .. . . . . .

Thus was my blue marble

lost in a concrete and gravel schoolyard game.

Copyright © 2021 Deb O'Rourke.

Feature image credit:

Composited by Katrina Archer from Depositphotos stock images and “The Blue Marble”, courtesy Nasa / Goddard Space Flight Center.

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Deb O'Rourke

Deb O’Rourke’s prose appears in various cultural and journalistic publications, most notably in Toronto's weekly, NOW Magazine. Her visual art can be seen at milkweedpatch.com. Some of her work in democratic education is documented at michaelbarker.ca. Her poetry has appeared in the Banister and William Henry Drummond Contest anthologies, and placed second in The New Quarterly’s Occasional Poetry contest in 2016 and 2019. Born in Alberta of Canadian settler descent, she lives in Toronto.

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