Hand of Cards: A Poem on Inequality

This week, one of my students couldn’t find her way home

Mom wouldn’t pick up

A family member had her public transit card

And she had no cash.

Stone-faced, she said

“What the hell am I supposed to do?”

I have a tendency to leave things unfinished

Among the hundreds of thousands of pages that find themselves bound and on mantles and shelves in my apartment

There are nearly as many volumes that are dog-eared precisely at the point of 30 pages to go

As there are that have been finished

When I asked my class to write a letter to someone they were thankful for

One third wrote to someone deceased

I had another class write the things they were thankful for on Post Its

One half included the words “life” or “alive”

They know that prospects of tomorrow, let alone longevity, are never sure

The books in my apartment aren’t finished because there’s always tomorrow

The cards I was dealt in life

Sooth me with the words,

“There’s always tomorrow.”

How can I sooth someone who has been told

Their hand is only worthy of a fold?


Image courtesy of planetrum.tumblr.com


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