First Rejection Letter

An email came for me today

The editor’s sorry to say

You’re talented, but

You did not make the cut

We wish you the best anyway


I think I’m a real writer now

Always I knew this somehow

I failed on this one

But I still find it fun

Maybe rhyming is just not high brow


Emily Tries To Learn Cyrillic

Sometimes a ‘P’ is not a ‘P,’ sometimes it is an ‘R’


A letter can mean different things depending where you are


If you are in Portland, a P is still a P


But you might find that elsewhere it is read quite differently


My husband does translation to Bulgarian and back


He does this just as easily as he would eat a snack


I’m staring at this flash card that looks like it’s a P


And try to get it in my head that’s not what it should be.


So many other alphabets that I will never read


Eight billion other people with hopes and dreams and needs


Our training and experience affects what we will see


And if you read a Cyrillic, a P is not a P.




The Hummingbird

At my little red glass feeder, there appears a hummingbird

His delicate construction defies the written word

He’s dueling with his rival, or maybe that’s his mate

His movement is direct and he will rarely hesitate

In he dives with focus in his speedy zagging zip

Then pauses for a moment while savoring a sip

He stays alert for predators and beats a quick a retreat

With ruby throat and emerald back, I think he’s pretty neat

MLK Day, 2018

Everyone values a hero

Many years after his death

When he is not there to correct them

Because he no longer draws breath

What would he say if he saw us?

Would he think that his Dream had come true?

What passes through our perceptions

When we first meet someone new?

Do we judge on the content of character?

Or just on the shade of her face?

Do we listen to what she is saying?

Or do we just think of her race?

I have preconceptions within me

This I will never deny

It’s an ongoing process to fight them

But still I continue to try

As we remember the Reverend

And think of what he had to say

The question we must ask ourselves is:

Who stands for those values today?

The Person Your Dog Thinks You Are

What will be the thing that makes you finally good enough?

Will it be to have a six-pack and some biceps that are buff?

Will it be when you get tenure at a college high in rank,

Or when your work is cited by a prominent think tank?

When you have a perfect wedding or find a perfect mate,

And you frequently have sex and go on cool romantic dates?

When your kitchen counter’s spotless and you clean beneath the grill,

You’re never out of spinach and the fridge is always filled?

When you volunteer for charities and donate ten percent,

But still have some leftover for the mortgage or the rent?

When your kids clean up their messes and lead their soccer teams,

And your real life is as perfect as the ones on Facebook seem?

You thought you had potential, but you wonder if you’ve failed

Someone down the line you should have walked another trail

The demons whisper in your ear “You’re worthless! You’re a dud!

So go and drag your stupid self through puddles in the mud!

You should have been more careful; you must be more precise

And now we know your failings and you’ll have to pay the price!”

Tell the demons “No” and make them go the hell away

Prepare yourself for combat if they come another day

You are enough, you are enough, exactly as you are

Regardless of your wrinkles or the model of your car

But perhaps this poem’s stupid and it’s just a waste of time

Even if it scans right and the couplets seem to rhyme

(This poem is addressed to you, but I bet you can see

The one who needs this poem has turned out to be me.)