poems have appeared in Anon
, The Dark Horse
, and other publications.
Her first book of poems, Bundle o’Tinder
, was chosen for the 2007 Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize by Richard Wilbur and is available from Waywiser Press.
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The Special Room
In Heaven I shook hands with Dostoyevsky,
but had to wait two hours. There was a line.
(There must be some mistake, I thought. They haven’t
announced me. He’s been waiting all this time—
since 1881—for my arrival.)
I told them: “He’s a cosmic friend of mine.”
My claims were met with glares from the attendants,
who didn’t ponymahyou. I was forced
to mingle with the masses, mostly students
and babbling foreigners. (My friend, of course,
would know me instantly; then the transcendence
of love would fill those skeptics with remorse.)
At last I reached the front, where he was sitting
all dressed in white. He smiled perfunctorily,
and, after mumbling something noncommittal,
waved to the next-in-line, dismissing me.
“Fyodor!” I cried. “It’s me! Slow down a little!”
He paused, surprised at my intensity.
“I’m just like you! I should have been a Russian!”
He kindly waited while I fought back tears.
“I, too, am deeply flawed and full of passion,
and often stare, confounded, at the stars!
I, too, deplore the suffering of children!
I, too, ‘do not accept this world of ours’!”
He nodded as I spoke, and when I’d finished,
the great man clasped my hands in his. “Indeed,”
he said, with a heavy accent, “you are special,
a member of a rare and dying breed.
Deep thinkers like yourself must be distinguished
from ordinary people.” I agreed.
Gesturing to the guards, he said, “Pazhalsta,
escort this lady to the special room
for Great Souls.” (What a treat, I thought. At last a
reward for all my patience!) When a broom
made contact with my rear, I trotted faster.
(A Russian sign of affection, I assume.)
Imagining the people I’d be meeting—
Mother Teresa, Lincoln, Donne, Millay,
Van Gogh, DaVinci, Brando—how exciting!—
I started to rehearse what I would say.
“You really think my thoughts are fascinating?
That I should be immortalized? Okay...”
But in the room was nothing, only darkness,
an endless void. “For those who won’t be missed,”
a guard informed me.
“What? This is outrageous!
I’m indispensable! I must exist!”
I yelled; and as they dragged my special carcass,
I kicked their shins, and shook my chubby fist.