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the hand I was dealt (poem).

The hand I was dealt
is considered near perfect:
golden hair, healthy body,
straight, middle class.
(They say: it could only be more perfect
were I not a woman).

The hand I was dealt
keeps me safe from the hate
given freely to those dealt hands
different than mine:
the desire to love unconventionally
a darker skin color
the wrong zip code
a home country one had to flee

The hand I was dealt
is (mostly) shared by one man
who holds all other hands
below ours.

And, the hand I was dealt
was endorsed as superior
by half of a country
when they put him in power.

The hand I was dealt
makes it easy to be blind
to the hands given to others
makes it easy to be blind
to what this election really means.

The hand I was dealt
gives me freedom to say:

“Hopefully it turns out okay.”
Because I’m safe if it doesn’t.

“Maybe it won’t be so bad.”
Because I don’t notice that’s it already is.

“You’re overreacting.”
Because I am graciously allowed to under-react.

The hand I was dealt
allows me to see pain and injustice
and think: “This is too hard. I can’t handle it.”
Because I don’t have to.
I can see and not experience;
turn my cheek,
whenever I want.

The hand I was dealt
will make it harder
to wake up each day,
with intention,
to face injustice head on.

The hand I was dealt
will be tempting to hide behind
when things hurt,
are hard to watch,
seem impossible to fix.

But the hand I was dealt
means I must try.
Because every silent moment
aids the hate, not the victims.
Injustice requires only outcome,
not intent.

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2 Comments

  1. Dale Holden

    Keep reminding us, Emily. Don’t let us become complacent behind our own “hand-
    dealt” safety nets. Love, Nana H.

  2. Carrie Emmerson

    Beautiful. Thanks, Emily –

    Carrie

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