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By Jericho Brown

Stop playing. You do remember the card tables,
Slick stick figures like men with low-cut fades,
Short but standing straight
Because we bent them into weak display.
What didn’t we want? What wouldn’t we claim?
How perfectly each surface was made
For throwing or dropping or slamming a necessary
Portion of our pay.
And how could any of us get by
With one in the way?
Didn’t that bare square ask to be played
On, beaten in the head, then folded, then put away,
All so we could call ourselves safe
Now that there was more room, a little more space?


Source: Poetry (October 2018)

  • Activities
  • Living

Poet Bio

Jericho Brown
Jericho Brown is the recipient of the Whiting Writers’ Award and fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. His first book, Please (New Issues, 2008), won the American Book Award, and his second book, The New Testament (Copper Canyon, 2014), was named one of the best poetry books of the year by Library Journal and received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. Brown earned a PhD from the University of Houston, an MFA from the University of New Orleans, and a BA from Dillard University. He is an associate professor and the director of the Creative Writing program at Emory University in Atlanta. See More By This Poet

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