photo of writer Deyva Arthur at the Albany Public Library

“Gamble Mom” by Deyva Arthur

I am a good gambler, but I might have gone too far this time.

As a child, I was so bored I gambled with my siblings whether dad would wear the blue or red suit, or on the score of the Springfield Prairie Dogs. I always won. As a housewife, I continued to gamble – the jellybean jar at the PTA fundraiser, church bingo, the daily lotto. For John’s office fantasy football, my lineup always came in. On the family trip to Vegas, I brought home $8000 after taxes.

I don’t care about the money. It’s winning I need. It’s the rush. That power. Anybody can do the laundry, or drive to the supermarket, or give birth.  It’s the ante, the stakes, winner take all. It feeds me.

I ran into God at the QuickMart. We made a big wager. God bet me that all of my three children would be successful in life. I countered my youngest, Malcolm, would be a failure. If I win – I become god. If I lose – I never gamble again. It’s stacked in my favor. Being his mom, I let Malcolm struggle over homework, convinced him he’d never get a role in the school play, and explained why the other kids don’t like him. It’s easy to crush his young aspirations.

But now God has raised the stakes. Waiting at the hospital while they pump out the pills  Malcolm took, I wonder – should I fold or go for God?



For over 20 years Deyva Arthur has been writing and photographing the human story and observing the quiet beauty of everyday life. Her work has shown across the country from New York City to Taos, New Mexico. She has received numerous awards for her photographs and writing including the Mohawk Hudson Artist Regional and the Capital District’s Photo Regional. She has written and illustrated four children’s books and has put together a collection of poetry. She has been the managing editor for the Green Party’s national newspaper and handled communications for her local NAACP. Her work includes: journalist, photographer, film editor, housing organizer, environmental researcher. She has been a counselor for refugees, the mentally ill, and the homeless, as well as, a secretary, construction worker, and sheep farmer. She lives with her family in Troy, New York.

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