Jan 27 2018
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American Life in Poetry #670

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

I’m writing this column on a very cold day, and it’s nice to be inside with a board game to play, but better yet, for me at least, to be inside with a poem about a board game.¬† This Monopoly game by Connie Wanek is from her book¬†Rival Gardens: New and Selected Poems, from the University of Nebraska Press.

Monopoly

We used to play, long before we bought real houses.
A roll of the dice could send a girl to jail.
The money was pink, blue, gold, as well as green,
and we could own a whole railroad
or speculate in hotels where others dreaded staying:
the cost was extortionary.

At last one person would own everything,
every teaspoon in the dining car, every spike
driven into the planks by immigrants,
every crooked mayor.
But then, with only the clothes on our backs,
we ran outside, laughing.

American Life in Poetry provides newspapers and online publications with a free weekly column featuring contemporary American poems. The sole mission of this project is to promote poetry: American Life in Poetry seeks to create a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture.

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