The Poem I Loved to Hate     

Toe cramps and twanging nerves:
I told my poem I wasn’t paying it
to develop persnickety symptoms.
My poem sulked, then sniffed,

then told me where to go.
I went out to a movie.  When
I got home, my poem was curled up
in the guest-room bed pretending

to nap.  Purple scraps of eggplant skin
and the ends of green beans littered
the kitchen sink.  Besides fancying
itself a gourmet cook, my poem
cuts snow flakes out of paper
and paints landscapes by number.
My poem is learning Japanese.
Domo arigato, it says, and bows slightly   

whenever I say how much
I like its voice.  But still my poem
insists on using up its sick leave
malingering on the couch

watching “Nanny 911” on Fox TV.
I’ve wracked my brain for ways
to build my poem’s self-esteem,
enhance its sense of purpose.

In my poem’s honor, I threw
a champagne brunch.  It showed up
as a geisha in kimono with a pair
of chopsticks in its piled-up hair.

Quite suddenly, it snatched a canape
with salmon and fed it to the cat,
raising some eyebrows.  I wanted
to send my poem to its room, but

knowing such a gesture would be
futile, I quickly slipped it several
hundred-dollar bills, called it a cab,
and wished it a successful life.



Lucia Galloway is the author of the chapbook Playing Outside (Finishing Line Press, 2005).  Recent work appears or is forthcoming in Gertrude, The Lyric, The MacGuffin, Poemeleon, Poetry Midwest, Prism Review, Thema, Her Mark 2007, and Her Mark 2009.  Her poetry has been awarded honorable-mention in the MacGuffin National Poet Hunt and recognized with a Pushcart Nomination as well as other awards and prizes.  She is a graduate of the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Antioch University, Los Angeles, and she teaches writing for Johns Hopkins CTYOnline. 

next                    table of contents