Poem 131: A Response to Rejection

today i got the ‘no thank you’ letter from my masters program of choice. rather than feeling sad i was happy to have that year finished so i could move on. when i decided to apply i had no idea how far i would be into my art or into my identity as a writer, and now i can say i truly appreciate the experience, and the push to be better. 
A cage cuts the day into edible slices,
Beyond clever vexed lines reclined am I
Safe from uncertainty, worry bee at ease.
The cage, gilded and gaudy, is a humble place
And the simple charm of the unpainted side
Where I reside is not a bird song but a long silence.
With loneliness at the heart of all envy
I took to the sky of eyes and wondered aloud
What mad rapture must be just out of reach.
Wild the mind unkind that pictures this absence.
Not thinking I held my left hand over my beating heart
And unscrewed it from the hinges.
Grey green city dove, thumb beak pinky wings
A bird in the hand slips so quickly through the grates.
When it was long out of site I would wait by the side
Of a cage made of ambition, envision the flight of my hand.
It was infinite there in a whispering wish
The potential to be great became greedy, and I
Felt designed for this purpose of finally escaping.
But I was empty there, a heart wide open with hope,
And I spoke to myself in the dim hours of how lovely
A bird out of hand must be in the wakeful world.
So when it wandered home with your deepest regret
I must admit I was nearly relieved. The waiting aches the most.
The missing pieces of me, the art of my soul, ached.
Knowing the answer is no feels better than choking on hope.
I sent you my latter hand, the one that holds my soul,
And it was not your reply but the stillness,
the hollowed year that fueled the fear–
Now that we are here, with one hand on the cage
I know that the pieces of me I sent away to be seen
And judged and cooked and skinned and soiled
Belong better where they began than in the grand design.
That a bird in the hand is greater still; greater still.


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