MY FIRST BOOK OF POETRY WAS LIKE MY FIRST BABY
since I don't plan to have children. I wanted people to love it
and make a fuss, and, in turn, tell me what a great job I'd done.
My book wasn't reviewed in that many places, and when it was,
one reviewer even called it sloppy. The grandparents weren't as doting
as I'd expected. They went on with their own lives
and didn't buy the book any presents. No one took a picture of me
holding the book in my lap. My husband wasn't jealous
that I was spending too much time with the book. My dog
sniffed the book and walked away, unthreatened. Other books
were getting cooed and fussed over, books cuter and more enchanting than mine.
There is no greater pain for a mother--seeing her child left out. Soon I knew
I had a book that would never accomplish much with its life,
that it wouldn't win prizes or be displayed in prestigious bookstores.
That my book would probably be a drop-out, that I'd have nothing
to brag about when my cousins showed me graduation pictures of their kids.
That my book wouldn't buy me dinner or take care of me
when I grew old. I tried not to let the book sense my disappointment.
I tried to love it for the book that it was, but it began to have the telltale signs
of depression, hanging out with the wrong crowd,
dressing like a rebel. The book reminded me of myself as a teenager,
but when I told it that it shivered in disgust, blaming me
for bringing it into this world in the first place.
previously published in Gargoyle magazine