“I’m sorry to say we didn’t find something
in this particular submission to fit just
right for our forthcoming issue. This is
not a reflection on the quality of your writing.
Our tastes, admittedly, are quirky.
Good luck finding a home for these.”
Do poems have sizes to be changed at will,
second-hand garments of the soul
stitched thread by painful thread
because we are too ashamed to speak,
to feel the bite of grief, the sting of loss,
the bruised heart beating in its cage.
Don't we try to trim the sprawl of pain,
the ugly bit of fat, the gruesome gristle,
this inky business of life, culling the wild
philodendra of our past into well-kept
window boxes smiling toward the sun.
Aren't they our children, these orphans,
emissaries of the battered, neglected,
the unspoken wounded, unsightly outcasts,
crying out our misery for us in pain.
Don't we make them speak
our brokenness, make them fit,
don't we line them up just right,
hoping they will be adopted by
some kindly and generous soul.
Aren't we careful to make sure they are
washed, scoured, rinsed, spun, softened,
sanitized, shrunk, stretched, faded, fluffed,
ordered, manicured, buffed, and polished,
arranged, standing docile and expectant.
And then, exhausted, don't we take them off
at night, shake them out, close their twin
halves like doors, button them down,
fold and tuck them away, shut them up
inside our dark, moth-eaten drawer of rejection.
Laura Stringfellow writes both verse and prose poetry, often exploring themes of transformation and woundedness. She is from the very humid Southern US, is passionate about protecting animals, and finds solace and healing in Nature. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.