Queen of Spades

Some people make you nervous, but they’re interesting to hang out with.

We were the kings of the coaster brakes
We could skid so hard we made our fillings shake
Took off the fenders, we were stripped for speed
Oil on the chain was all we’d need
My mom’s bridge cards were stiff and new
We only needed one or two
We stole some clothespins from off the line
Snapped ‘em on the spokes, both his and mine

Jack of Diamonds on the front wheel
Queen of Spades in the back
Wheels goin’ round in circles
While I listened to the cards going clack, clack, clack
Look at me, hey look at me
Yes I’m as wild as I can be
Making noise so you look and see
Me riding with the Queen of Spades

His house was a step up from a shotgun shack
They were gonna fix it up when his dad came back
There was stuff on the front porch that never worked

There were cars in the yard where his big brothers lurked
My mom stood in tour front yard and watched us play
She was a little uneasy, unsure what to say
He was closer to the edge than anyone I’d ever met
Like an accident that had not happened yet


It was just that summer, then we lost touch
We were bound to go our separate ways
I always wondered what happened to him
Knowing how dreams can go astray

I was sitting at the light with my foot on the brake
When a roar and a rumble made my whole car shake
He was right beside me in the left-hand lane
Wearing a red bandana and a silver mane
Behind him was a mama dressed in studs and black
She had a snake tattoo in the small of her back
He raised his fist and smiled, then pulled away
I smiled back, there was nothin’ to say


© Bill Harley, all rights reserved. Reprints with permission only.


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