I fall back on my bed, stretching out, thinking of the time, in 2010, I entered a national poetry contest. I must have sent 60 pages worth of stuff. I wrestled it into an envelope and hid it behind a two paragraph letter of introduction. I felt naked and confident–I was doing something. Of course, that came to nothing and left me with little more than the hope that the bright words of encouragement in the rejection letter were somehow singling me out; I did, after all, have a poem about the Virgin Mary.
I’ve gone online, from time to time, googling broad queries on how I could publish my poems. This often coincides with flashes of self doubt, or general malaise when focusing on my accomplishments. The affirmation that would surely follow publication would be like control; but I must remind myself that affirmation is not control.
And still these thoughts: lightning striking twice. See, she says, this is how I like you. Not honest, but vulnerable. I look up through the thin branches and watch the sky dissolve. I’m not good at that, I say, then ramble about how contentment is illusory, or at least never a simple thing for me. And I talk about how that’s exhausting and that it pisses me off. Her lips smooth out, her eyes soften, she watches my finger tapping, moving ever so slightly to grab it, and then stopping, waiting for the urge to pass.