"Which Are You, And Who Wins?" by Tina Kelley

Tina Kelley Which Are You, And Who Wins_.jpg

Which Are You, And Who Wins?

Do you have little white dog syndrome, where badness in small creatures
is considered cute, and thus perpetuated? Can you list what you learned
by being a parent to a son? Paper or Plastic? Salt or Fresh? (Rock.)

Are you the type who looks upstream at the bridge?
Do you think, sometimes, “I don't know if I'm faking it.
All of it.”? Are you a prosopagnosic — no memory for faces? (Paper.)

Did the second-hand fortune cookie tell you you're an ok person?
Did you then get mad at corporate food and eat all the candy hearts
without reading them? Can you be sad near a mariachi band? (Scissors.)

So the short smashes the spiteful, but is covered by the dim.
The foggy covers the firm, but is cut by the disheartened.
The despised cuts the hopeful, but is smashed by the dense.

And at the end, it’s all chance, and watching, the split second before.

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Tina Kelley’s third poetry collection, Abloom and Awry, came out in 2017 from CavanKerry Press, joining Precise and The Gospel of Galore, which won a 2003 Washington State Book Award. Ardor won the 2017 Jacar Press chapbook competition. A former New York Times reporter, she shared in a staff Pulitzer for 9/11 coverage and co-authored Almost Home: Helping Kids Move from Homelessness to Hope. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and two children.

Headshot: Joy Yagid

Photo Credit: Staff