Friday, April 25, 2008

I win because!

When I was little, my family and three others would rent a beach house together in the summer. The parents and the older kids would play a complicated rummy game together, and my cousin (let's call him B) would watch from the sidelines because he was too young. Every hand in the grown-up game had a different contract, and B invented his own game which must have been based on his impression of our game. After the big people's game was done, an aunt or older kid in a generous moment would play B's game with him. B would deal out a hand, give some instructions, and then explain why he was the winner of that hand. B won every hand, and for every hand he came up with a different rule for why he won. We older kids came to call B's game I Win Because.

I've thought about writing a poem based on I Win Because for a long time, but it just wouldn't come together. Then yesterday something in the news made think of I Win Because and I came up with this poem in about an hour. Let's call it inspired by B's game, but it goes way beyond where B ever went.


I win because
I have four cards
and you have three,
because I have
the seven and eight of hearts.
I win because
I’m a cute five-year-old
who can barely count.

I win because
all your good cards
came early,
my cards are bigger,
because your
king of spades
all your other cards.
I win because
you will patronize me,
you see the tantrum
start to rise
when you challenge me.

I win because
my cards
have more spots than yours,
because I dealt you
all the cards in your hand
and you will be grateful
to let me win.
I win because
my cards are blue
and your cards are red,
because none
of your cards matter.

I win because
I will throw
all the cards on the floor
and set them on fire
if you don’t let me win.


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