She has published the poetry collections The Yellow House on the Corner (1980), Museum (1983), Thomas and Beulah (1986), Grace Notes (1989), Selected Poems (1993), Mother Love (1995), On the Bus with Rosa Parks (1999), American Smooth (2004), and Sonata Mulattica (2009; winner of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award). Her latest book, Collected Poems 1974-2004, was released by W.W. Norton & Co. in May 2016; it was a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the NAACP Image Award in Poetry. Currently she serves as editor of The New York Times Magazine’s weekly poetry feature. Rita Dove holds the chair of Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia.
This is not for you, this is not a gift.
Anyways, ribbons would have been overkill.
(I thought I could make it to the store
before closing. What kind of crap town
is this? I shouted, kicking the locked door.)
So I messed up a little. Not that
it would’ve changed things if traffic had flowed
as proscribed or those knuckleheads
had learned to follow the rules:
when turning left, pull into the intersection,
use your blinkers to indicate lane change,
and when merging, take turns – it’s called
scissoring, dumb asses, it’s also how
I made the fringe on the wrapping,
which you are permitted to appreciate
even though this is not for you.
No gifts! you said, and I got it.
I’m not stupid. I know the rules.