Je Vais T’apprendre

 Je Vais T’apprendre


Of all the sweetest things Pal’s done,

            Of all the sacrifices and 


When he said, “yes,” to my request,

            He closed, ringed round, the perfect loop:

            “Yes, I’ll let you teach me cribbage.”


Of all the things that Pepere did,

            Of all the sacrifices and 

            Grandfatherly, New England-love,

When he said, “yes,” to my request,

            He started, cutting cards deeply:

            “oui, je vais t'apprendre le cribbage.”


For all the fifteens-twos,

For all the double runs, 

For all the right jacks,

For all those rare flushes,

For all the last card gimmes,

For all the you count firsts,

For all the lucky cuts,

            For all the bad ones,

For all the nineteens that never happened:


Of all the self-served things I’ve done,

            Cribbage has been the most self-served,

            Making it a gate to my heart,

When a new acquaintance says, “yes,”

            An instant litmus test turns blue,

            “Yes, let’s cut to see who goes first.” 


With ma tantes and mon oncles,

With close cousins,

With those college buddies

Who found a way to make it into a                    

                        Drinking game.

With my father’s sweet widow.

On airplanes, 

With avatars and iPhone apps.


Of all the Pop-y things Pop did,

            Of all the close-yet-distant moves,

            Of all the disappointing kitties,

When he said, “yes,” to my request,

            He taught me that life is a game:

            “Yes, let’s play one more game of cribbage.” 

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