“This is why I don’t write poetry.”

Published in Metrosphere, v28, 2009-2010.

I.

Poetry was efficient.
Poetry served its purpose
and promptly committed suicide.


II.

Every day for seven months,
Poetry drove past my house.
It parked down the street
and slammed its doors
loud enough to wake me up.
It always had trouble starting
and it would always backfire
just as it passed my window.
After a while, I began to expect
Poetry coming to wake me up
and I was alert before the doors
slammed.


III.

I had already been lacking sleep when she knocked at my door. “It’s time,” she whispered. I stood up and held the door open just long enough to raise one middle finger. I went back, buried myself under a stack of blankets, and tried to forget she was even there. And sometimes it worked. Sometimes she would leave. It’s not that I disliked having her around; she just seemed to knock at the least convenient times. I figured that’s just how she did things.

In retrospect, Poetry put up with a lot. I never paid her much attention, I always downplayed her significance, I even became embarrassed around her. I never put a lot of faith in her, even when she tried to put faith in me. And despite my best attempts to relegate her to the least of my priorities, she would always come around for me when I needed her the most. Perhaps that’s why I was so surprised when she left for good. Perhaps even poetry can only take so much.


IV.

[self-editing]


V.

A boy sat by a lake
and threw stones
as far as he could.
In time, he ran out.


VI.

Suppose he had only three stones.
Suppose he sat at the ocean.

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