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dawn tefft / poem

When I Win, I Start Again

with my one wild and precious

I am compelled to press

start over and over

why must I dive into the cleft

sit with my Schneepart

come up with a mouthful of 

I did it wrong

consult the cards looking 

for Empress in the new year

or at least The Fool at the start

of the month

why can I not find the place

where the route snakes


see the strategy of the maps

I spread across the office 

the way I decorate a couch

or raise my daughter

to jump on a trampoline

how the earth shakes

when I pronounce ne pasaran

to mean the fascists will die

in the mountain pass

and when spring comes

it comes with new songs

touch the underside

of just about any valley

so that it moans with today

and is not merely a site

all that history is is 

how you arrived here


Dawn Tefft's poems appear in Denver Quarterly, Fence, and Witness. Her chapbooks include Fist (Dancing Girl Press) and Field Trip to My Mother and Other Exotic Locations (Mudlark). She earned a PhD in Creative Writing at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, volunteers as an editor for Packingtown Review, and lives and works in Chicago.

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