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How has so much of your on-fire
certainty cooled despite your tossing
on another slab of cedar and more kindling?

Surely this is a failure of your divine pursuit,
you think, believing the heresy that passion
is the logical outcome of faith.

What of the dark night of the soul?
What of wrestling questions into a chokehold
only to have your grip pried away?

Like Peter, you say, Lord, to whom should we go?
That is what you return to, contemplating
Pascal’s wager, the bet of all bets.

You are not, by nature, a betting man.
You are stingy with your meager wealth.
But you are left with your hand, the dealer

asking what you will do, your family and friends
watching to see if you’ll slide all the chips,
stacking everything for what’s in that green field.

Nathaniel Lee Hansen’s chapbook Four Seasons West of the 95th Meridian was published by Spoon River Poetry Press in 2014. His work has appeared in Prairie Gold: An Anthology of the American Heartland, Driftwood Press, Whitefish Review, The Cresset, Midwestern Gothic, and South Dakota Review, among others. His website is

Image: Gambling Chips, by Jamie Adams, under CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons.