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Family Night

Peer into the satchel of fabrics
Plush and dark
Soft and unforgiving,
Hand to hand, pass stitched and muffled suffering

We lay down our best attempts at
Aligning ourselves, random and divined
Our tiles slide one over the other
Puzzling our perspectives
Into crossword intersections of a truth

Your pain
     His persecution
          My pride
               Her privilege


We manage our vowels
Test our best guesses
Conjure an inevitable sorrow
We commit to the rules by redefining our conditions for a win
One stern shake shuffles the tiles
Our independent vocabularies anchored to our common arrangement of consonants

We continue in the round
Immersed in the play of being alive, on our own. As a unit.
We snap into place familiar combinations and wounds
Until we each exhaust the bag
The versions of ourselves
Sip at the sweet drinks. Munch the snacks.
Tease and laugh at the follies
Tally our attempts at triple score bonuses
Leave the game winning and defeated


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Dasha Kelly Hamilton is the Wisconsin Poet Laureate for 2021-2022. She is a writer, performance artist and creative change agent, applying the creative process to facilitate dialogues around human and social wellness. Dasha is the author of two novels, three poetry collections, four spoken word albums, and one collection of personal vignettes.

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Wisconsin Academy Offices 
1922 University Avenue
Madison, Wisconsin 53726
Phone: 608.733.6633


James Watrous Gallery 
3rd Floor, Overture Center for the Arts
201 State Street
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: 608.733.6633 x25