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By Joshua Branch-Howell, Virginia State University





In the shadowed halls of chance, my mother roams,

Her eyes ablaze with hope but empty homes.

She clings to slot machines, her siren's call,

Thinking fortune's grace will never let her fall.

 

In denial's grip, she whispers to the wind,

"I'll win it back," a mantra to her sins.

Beside her, I stand, a reluctant part,

Forced into this game that grips her heart.

 

Lost in the spin, we search for light,

Yearning for dawn to end the night.

A son's plea echoes, stark and clear,

Break these chains, release our fear.

 

She drags me to the tables, young and small,

Demands I bet on dreams, her voice a thrall.

But I refuse this dance with fate, this deadly waltz,

Yet guilt descends in heavy, damning bolts.

 

"It helps me cope," she says with tear-streaked eyes,

"The loss of sister, a pain that never dies."

Yet blind she is to every coin she throws,

Each bet a theft, my future decomposed.

 

Lost in the spin, we search for light,

Yearning for dawn to end the night.

A son's plea echoes, stark and clear,

Break these chains, release our fear.

 

"Sometimes she wins," she boasts, her voice aglow,

"Sometimes she loses," I reply, voice low.

But truth is scorned, reality a bitter pill,

For daring to keep it real, I'm scolded still.

 

She fails to see the theft beneath the gleam,

The stolen dreams, the shattered, fragile seam.

Her addiction, a wildfire, consuming all in sight,

Leaving naught but ashes in the endless night.

 

Lost in the spin, we search for light,

Yearning for dawn to end the night.

A son's plea echoes, stark and clear,

Break these chains, release our fear.

 

Smoking in another guise, this gambling spree,

A venomous snake, claiming my family.

I plead, I cry, I beg her to abstain,

But she's ensnared, in gambling's cruel chain.

 

So here I stand, a son in desperate plea,

Begging for a mother, longing to be free.

But in her eyes, the dice still softly roll,

As she gambles away my heart and soul.





About the Author


Joshua Branch-Howell, Virginia State University


Born in Virginia in 2003, Joshua Branch-Howell, known widely by his alias "Hors3," is an artist, poet, and dancer. Using his everyday life as inspiration, Hors3 creates thought-provoking and unique works of art that delve into raw and deep topics in the life of "a black man on the spectrum." He is currently majoring in visual arts at Virginia State University.



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