It was my wife-to-be-in-forty-years

who turned me off of writing poems.

Well, not her


More like the aftershock—

Wait! Should I say fallout? Is fallout better?




It’s like this.

My wife-to-be-in-forty-years

submitted a poem

to some-small-press-or-other

containing the lines—

And I’m quoting here so cut me a little slack goddamnit will ya’?

—containing the lines


“I’m hurting myself a lot


I’m wanting to be held again

Harry, remember Harry?

         said there are in fact lots of people with

         qualities like yours

         like you

After such kindness, that would be a dismal thing to do”


and in the letter of rejection—

Sorry, did I say letter?

—in the




was nothing but her poem with some scribbles in the margins

and, of course,

as if it were an active verb,

the circled word






there was a scribbled note that simply read


“who’s Harry? why not Bill?”


and then she started crying

and hurt herself again

and I stopped writing.

Not sure why.


And now it’s now and now we’re married,

our consummation forced on us

by lawyers and insurance men

who could not bring themselves to see

what she and I have known for decades.


I bring this up at all

not because of Harry

or rejection either

but because she’s brought me—

Dare I say it save it’s up there in the title?

—because now she’s brought me Kevin.