My friend, 80 years on the Santee Reservation,
said to me one night by the smoke of the tipi fire,
“Change? What’s the big deal?” and added
to the smoke of the burning pine his own
breath, interfused with all the breaths of his relatives
and gradually up into the cold, starry Dakota sky.

Because what you get is not change but the smoke
of the universe that makes you think of change,
its subtle altercation with now, with then.

Like a lotto ticket.
You scratch each circle with your thumbnail.

The number—you realize those
are the odds, you idiot, the odds of anything.

Mark Simpson is involved in farming and forestry on Whidbey Island, Washington. His work has appeared in a number of magazines. His chapbook, Fat Chance, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2013.

See more of his work in 7.4 and 7.4