NEVER BETTER THAN THIS
What do you say to the woman in tears,
rejected for the third time
by the scholarship committee at the community college
where she goes to school and you teach?
Do you speak of the years devoted to art,
your poems repeatedly rejected,
letters beginning, “We regret to inform you...”
money wasted on contests?
“The money won’t stop me,” she growls.
“I’ll just keep working three part-time jobs
to pay the bills
and stay in school.”
Do you talk about decades of menial work
trying to write at home? Do you
mention the children you never regretted not having
because you had poetry?
She is young enough to be your daughter.
You are old enough to let this fact pass.
Together, you stand facing a view
dwarfing both your lives.
An egret unfolds its wings.
She admits feeling somewhat better.
You do not say it may never get better than this.
You do not.
fiction poetry "fact" photography