Monday, November 21, 2005

HOW I LOST A DECADE

Wet Stone

Took all the professorial advice,
and visiting poet’s insights,
started small, right out of college
with my brave degree in poetry.

To my local reputable pub
I sent my best bunch folded
sideways in manila,
and a SASE with more than
sufficient postage.

I was ready for the first
little slip of rejection, ready
to eventually paper a room with them all,
and equally ready to be the anomaly
and publish from the start.

Months later, a call from down the street,
mother of eight children,
the cool mother of cruel kids,
let them eat too orange chips,
cereal spattered with sugary sponges,
and always stocked the pantry
with stacks of sodas.

Told my mother about a hand-delivered letter:
Had it for weeks. Been meaning to call.
Poetry maybe?

Back in my hands
they return well handled,
jagged opening,
read by the family around
the dinner table.
A good laugh.

This I didn’t foresee.
Faceless rejection is one thing,
but an editor dropping off my first batch
to someone else
because she was about my age
with a name near to mine?

And of all places, at the house
that always went all out
at Christmas, runway roof,
waving mechanical Santa,
every living branch
and angle of the house stapled
with strings of lights.

This was enough to stop
me, enough for me to launch it
like a flat stone
against my childhood
wallpaper: blue and yellow flowers
laced with yellow ribbons
like worms.

Sunk behind my vanity
mirror, drowned
until a decade later
my son was born, a baby muse,
started sending them out,
but at the top,
receiving each blind
paper with a thrill.

Getting ready to paper my walls.

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