Zelenyi was glad to get out of his dark, cold

cell.  But he could not acquaint his mind with the

fact of prisoners actually playing poker, and for money, too.

Blankets were spread over a table.  Old cards cut into

various designs served as chips.  It was not real —

prisoners walking about and mingling with each other.  All the

action was somewhere behind the eyes, in naïve expectation and

calculated deceit.  Each man tried to entrap the others and

fix limits to his own false dreams. Poker was funneled

essence, the clear and intimate extract of their bootless predicament.

_____________________________________

Paraphrases from the novels Prison Will Make You Cry by Chester B. Himes and Falling Man by Don DeLillo.

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