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Everyone’s angry at me—even your mother,
And no one understands why it’s necessary
If we’re going to stand before God and say forever—
Or perhaps I want to draw up new vows too…?
I still want forever. I’d like to think it’s possible,
But people break their own rules every day.
No matter what, I vow to leave quietly,
Taking only what I’m owed, what we’ve agreed on.
Like you did to me once—remember? That day
We played spades and you took seven books
Because I accidentally played off-suit?
I begged you, but you smiled
And held out your hand; wanting, I suspect,
Even more than winning, the gesture of surrender:
From my hand to your hand, even though you knew
I had just learned how to play the game.
Are a secret of my childhood
I’d never tell my yoga class, although
It’s probably as close to real meat as tofu.
And they still sell it—I pass blue tins on the aisle
Quickly, hoping that time and circumstance
Will never force me to stop. Still, I’m no fool.
And I know where I come from; if I ever had to do it,
Destiny Birdsong currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she earned an M.F.A. in poetry and is now a Ph.D. student in English at Vanderbilt University. Her poems have appeared in Southern Women’s Review, Torch: Poetry, Prose and Short Stories by African American Women, Georgetown Review, and Tabula Rasa: A Journal of Medical Humanities.