For The Sunday Whirl: Wordle #60
You Never Forget That First Time
No more than trembling vessel
of nerves, wrestling deepest desire
to run, but knowing time has come,
bluffs her way onto makeshift stage.
Mind, a muddied stain, thoughts
become crawling insects, willowy
antenna reaching across great
distance, but not quite making contact.
Grateful for corona of footlights
that banish audience to mere shadows,
brushing away stone boulders of doubt,
finally opens mouth and begins.
Finished now, she makes her way
to folding chair at periphery, nails
body to that fragile support, limbs
Unknown young woman hesitantly
squats next to her, softly says,
“I loved all of your poetry,
especially the one about fearing
failure. Is there any way I could
get a copy?”
Elizabeth Crawford 6/10/12
Notes: I gave her the typed copy I had used for the reading. Years later, she appeared at the bookstore I managed. Approached the counter and hesitantly said, “I don’t think
you remember me, but maybe you would remember this.” From a fold in her wallet,
she produced the now crumpled and well-used copy of the poem I had given her.
The older woman, who had been standing off to the side, stepped forward, and said,
“I’m her mother and we have come to buy the Anthology that was nominated for a Grammy Award. The one with your poem in it. She was still in school, the night she heard you read. She’s carried the poem with her everywhere, reading it when she’d get discouraged. We are celebrating her first real position as a grade school English teacher. We’d love it if you’d sign the book for her.”
I did, thanking her profusely for being my very first fan, and by doing what she did, giving me the strengthening support I so desperately needed to continue reading my poetry in public.