Photo by Julius Drost on Unsplash


Jennifer Kite-Powell
2 min readJan 8, 2023

I got a deck of cards for Christmas.

They looked like regular, standard issue playing cards at first glance.

I could smell cheesy, salty trans fat snacks of Frito-Lay and taste the heavily poured whiskey sours that were light on the sour.

I heard the laughter of card table sarcasm and beating hearts because you really wanted to win but had to play it cool.

I felt dizzy, maybe it was remembering all those whiskey sours in all those other card games but I was intoxicated by just staring at this green deck of cards on my tiny West Elm princess desk under a window sill overlooking scruffy old Woodruff Street in Brooklyn.

I turned the pack over and realized I was made. It wasn’t an ordinary deck of cards. It was a chore.

‘Pick up a language’ with cards.

I was instantly transported to a tiny wooden desk with a jumble of different colors of gum stuck to its underbelly. Illegible words meticulously carved with abandon like a tiny wooden graffiti wall for elves. I felt a tightening in my chest and started to sweat, feeling the eyes of a one Senora Eileen Greenberg staring at me, waiting for me to say ‘I am studying Spanish’ in Spanish. The whole class stared at me in annoyance and disregard.

I burned that deck of cards later that night with a weak whiskey sour and keto paleo gluten-free vegan crisps.



Jennifer Kite-Powell

Speculative poet, flash fiction writer, author, podcaster & Forbes senior contributor. Read my work here, on substack or at