hand-17
Seventeen
by Danna Hobart

Born so beautifully flawed,
like crackleware
labeled
before your first breath;
you hit the wall on that birthday.

Eyes like marbles baked and chilled
saw the world with wonder,
but mother greeted you —
like a cat with her back arched.

Encircled with rules —
like antique bottles
not to be broken —
you cringe at the sound of their clinking,
and any movement or growth topples them.

Try to climb
over broken and splintered glass
reaching out
not knowing what you’re reaching for
your chin dips and suspicious eyes follow you.

Hungry for kindness,
you follow anybody who
scratches behind your ears,
only to be kicked aside
as the door slams.

Tomorrow is uncertain
as a Vegas card game;
do you hold at 17?
Or cross your fingers
and take another card?

IMAGE: Blackjack hand 17.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Danna Hobart lives in California. Her poetry has been published in Events Quarterly, Problem Child, Zygote in my Coffee, Cadenza, Ink Poet, Ink Angels, Feeling Is First, and other anthologies.