The poem tells you what it means

if for instance you drove all the way to buy

a lottery ticket on the border with California

because you never know about these things.

There’s a line because nobody’s won yet.

Now the payout is over a billion—

Imagine what you could buy with that.

You have to remember you’re at the age

when you’ve started to feel as though

you might’ve missed out on something.

Whatever it is, a billion dollars should cover it.


You know there’s a better chance

of being struck by lightning, the news

keeps telling you that, but it doesn’t matter

because who wouldn’t want to be struck

by lightning and live to tell about it?

You’re assuming you’ll live because

you’re assuming it’s going to hit you

not someone else, not these other people

standing in a line that wraps around the parking lot

of the Indian casino. After all who wouldn’t mind

their greatness being thrust upon them?


It might as well be you, you’re decent enough

and if you won you’d make sure your family

and friends got something too. You might

even give back to the community, who knows.

At any rate, it would certainly be nice to lift

that weight off your back, whatever it is.

What you’d do with the money is less important

than what you imagine being chosen must feel like.

A world somehow faithful to your point of view.

For you require great significance to satisfy.

You must touch lightning bolts to live.

R. Charboneau


Artwork: Vincent van Gogh – The State Lottery (1883)

2 thoughts on “What it Means

  1. I love it! I thought it would be about the money, and then this: “What you’d do with the money is less important / than what you imagine being chosen must feel like.” Huh, now I want to win the lottery too! What about those studies that show that in six months’ time you’ll go back to your base happiness levels and feel just as … insignificant? I’ll be better off catching some lightning bolts. You inspire me.

    Liked by 1 person

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