That other Muse, the Goddess of Gambling —
Place a bet on her name;
She’s summoned through imperfect sampling
And glimpsed with players of the game.
Raise her proper name, her shape of proper fraction;
Fingers bejeweled, their tips caressing your neck,
She’ll stand beside the chair, overseeing the action,
And lay aside her veil, men’s shoulders bedecked
With swaths of concentration or distraction.
Forgive this search, O Madame X, for systematic
Invocation of statistics lacking in prayer
Your form of address — Hittite, Hebrew, or Attic;
Condone this once and sanctify a dare.
NOTES for Students of English
Action ‐ In gambling, “action” means betting or the amount of money wagered.
Proper Fraction – A proper fraction is one where the numerator is less than the denominator.
O Madame X – (Pronounced MAD-um) Here X is a play on x standing for “unknown” and the Roman numeral ten, suggesting the tenth Muse.
“The tenth Muse, the Muse of Gambling, like all her sisters, will demand instantly: talent, courage, boldness, daring, inspiration, and the knowledge of when to quit.” — V. Khodasevich
Hittite, Hebrew, or Attic – Three languages of antiquity; Attic is Greek.