It wasn’t the Price is Right TV show, with Barker
pointing to the three doors, but he looked a bit
like him in red leotards.
The audience cheered on as I was taunted, Choose,
Choose, Choose!
  Behind the door with a big prize
was a 4-door sedan, fire-engine red with flames,
yellow-orange, painted on the quarter panels.
Black interior, hot bucket seats.
Through another door, an angel held the ticket
for an all-expense paid trip to really hot places,
first class flight, with complimentary fireballs
after reaching cruising altitude.
One door opened to a pantry filled with a year’s
supply of Perrier.
The host prodded me to make my choice, he had
a devilish grin when I uttered Door Number 2.
The veil dropped, the door opened and the crowd
applauded as they leaped out of their seats,
exposing their gargoyle faces while the host roared
with laughter.
I wish I had chosen Door Number 1 with the ample
supply of cool water. I wept and gnashed; prayed
this was just a dream.
John C. Mannone has work in Adanna, Anacua, Acentos Review, Artemis, Poetry South, Red Coyote, Blue Fifth Review, Baltimore Review, and others. He won the Jean Ritchie Fellowship (2017) in Appalachian literature and served as the contest’s celebrity judge for the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (2018). His third collection, Flux Lines (forthcoming 2019). He edits poetry for Abyss & Apex and other journals. He’s a retired physics professor living in east Tennessee.
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