By Todd Hearon

Featured Art: Northeaster by Winslow Homer

We have to remember the stakes are merciless.
It takes more to get out of this life than what you put into it.

That didn’t come out right. It takes more
to get out of this life more than—

It takes a goddamned lot to get out of this life.

Nobody ever said it was going to be anything better
than a round of poker on the raft of the Medusa.

It’s not who wins the game that counts.
Nobody wins. It’s who gets out least lost.

Todd Hearon is the author of three collections of poems: Strange Land, No Other Gods and Crows in Eden. His awards include a PEN New England/”Discovery” Award, the Friends of Literature Prize (POETRY Magazine and the Poetry Foundation), The Rumi Poetry Prize (Arts & Letters) and the Campbell Corner Poetry Prize (Sarah Lawrence College). He recently served as Writer in Residence at the Frost Place and Dartmouth College.

Originally appeared in NOR 14.

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