Author’s Note: “This poem explores the ways we attempt to justify our privileges to ourselves. While I wrote it thinking primarily of my own white middle class American culture, it asks questions more broadly about our human capacity to construct a narrative of our lives that allows us to look away from the suffering of others and see our own good fortunes as deserved.”
Winner Takes All
Because there aren’t enough spots on the dice
for you to win fair and square every time.
Because when you count your money
into little piles at night you always see double.
Because from up on this cliff you can’t tell
whether the bodies in the lake below
are swimming or drowning. From up here
your rambler feels more like a castle,
draw bridge slammed shut, a book
no one needs to read to know the end of.
Where there’s a front door there’s a right
of refusal, a bell to make a statement:
this house only has one story
and you’re going to be the one telling it.
Holly Karapetkova is the Poet Laureate of Arlington, Virginia. She is the author of Words We Might One Day Say, winner of the 2010 Washington Writers’ Publishing House Poetry Award, and Towline, winner of the 2016 Vern Rutsala Poetry Contest (Cloudbank Books). She holds an MFA in creative writing and a PhD in English and comparative literature and teaches in the Department of Literature and Languages at Marymount University. Website: karapetkova.com.
Delmarva Review, Volume 14, in this, its largest edition, selected the writing of seventy authors that stood out from thousands of submissions during the year. The review is available in print and digital editions from Amazon.com and major online booksellers, as well as from Mystery Loves Company, in Oxford, and other regional specialty bookstores.