“Wheel of Fortune”

by Mindi Kirchner

“Ah, dull-witted mortal, if fortune begin to stay still, she is no longer fortune.” Boethius


There are many things you cannot know,
your fortune cookie told you so!

Mystery, why the nice couple never solves the puzzle,
why the jet-ski trip to Costa Rica always goes to rat-faced dullards.

One spin too many, too much muscle on the spin,
the endorphin explosion of Vanna
in her dress with sequins like Christmas ornaments.

Spin again. You are without a kingdom,
so get a mustard-colored house
with a mustard-colored dog
who looks like a moon-chunk
flung from a slingshot in space
when he whirls about the neighborhood.

There are many things you cannot know,
that one spin loses it all:
lover you secretly despised,
house you hoped a tornado would dizzy away
job you’d like to stab with ice picks,
the world’s clutching them all up
like a claw machine in a sad arcade.

Oh cruel, unjust world
to steal away even all you loathe.

Still, you believe, better to be somewhere dreadful
than nowhere, a big ink stamp blotting you out,
better off incarcerated than annihilated.

You are wrong.
And you will wake someplace dreadful
because you gulped three bottles of wine for dinner,
with a scoopful of Valium for dessert.

Silly Florence Nightingale Nurses,
“Ladies with lamps,”
think you’re suicidal—and why not?

The whole goddamn town ought to be wearing
cowboy hats and singing
dismal country songs in d minor for you.

Spin again. You’re committed,
treated to heavy sedation,
a former felon for a roommate
blank walls to prevent
death by art,
though ear-bandaged Vincent,
and Edvard with his shrieking migraine
might lend more company
to this misery.

Oh great artists,
I’ll let you be in my future, if you’ll let me be in your past.
So I can comfort a man who’s heard the enormous,
infamous scream of nature,
and the epileptic eccentric
with a bellyful of absinthe
and a pocketful of paints.

There are many things you cannot know;
it is decidedly so,
says The Magic 8 ball;
pitch your luckless life out the window
like a kamikaze pilot, or a tiny white ghost
against Ohio’s ceaseless gray.

They’ll feed you Oliver-gruel,
then television,
all the loonies playing Jeopardy.

The answer is the question?
The answer is the question?

Wheel of Fortune, too.
But it’s a brainless game,
and someone’s always turning the letters
when no one is watching.

The answer, though, is an easy one,
song lyrics, trite with a side of truth,
“Live, love, laugh and be happy.”

Spin, spin again.
We are all without kingdoms
and yet it is very beautiful here.


Mindi Kirchner-Greenway was born in Lancaster, PA. She moved to Youngstown, Ohio in 2004 on a whim and a Bruce Springsteen song. She has a chapbook of poetry, “Song of the Rest of Us,” published by Kent State University Press, and has published poems in EclipsePerigeeThe Wick Poetry Series Anthology, and other journals. Other than writing, she enjoys teaching, running, Phillies baseball, good music, game shows, and binge-sleeping. She lives on the Northside of Youngstown with her smelly dog, Tank Greenway, and her slightly-less-smelly husband, William Greenway.

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