This selection, chosen by guest curator Sarah Clark, is from You Should Feel Bad by Laura Cresté, released by Poetry Society of America in 2020.
There I was my life around me like a spilled drink,
at a party trying to have a meaningful connection
with the family cat, and there driven down the canopied
side streets in someone’s mother’s minivan, where I said
Dan is actually a really good drunk driver and I meant it.
There was Sunday night full of dread, drawing the dogwood
tree on our front lawn as the sun set behind it, sketchbook
due in Art tomorrow. I used up every sick day, all eighteen of them,
cooked Lipton soup, that yellow bouillon, and dropped in an egg,
the white tendriling like a jellyfish in the broth. All of my life still
ahead of me—
I lived four blocks from school and didn’t always walk.
The days were long and uncruel: holiday assemblies
with the principal as Santa and the one dreidel song, movies in June
when it was too hot to teach, Rent in Health class to scare us
No one ever beat me up and no one I loved had died.
Why then the diffuse despair, narrowing into my notebook
one letter over another over another so you couldn’t read
the well of words help help help fuck fuck fuck.
I thought I wanted to be in love but really
I wanted something to do with my hands.
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