“Poem” by Laura Carter

I had forgotten how to want something, but what? Maybe it’s mid-life, maybe the heart wants what it wants. Maybe the heart is really a lonely hunter after all.

I told my social media feed about the two boys I knew in grade school. They were immigrants, got picked on. One of them wrote in the paper: “Dear Everyone, I need friends.”

I probably laughed at the time. I was a “cool kid” despite my bulky glasses. But now, I wish I could go back and befriend them, save them from the oblivion of loneliness and heartbreak.

I had forgotten how to be kind, but why? Poets have the intellectual capacities to be anything they want, but in whose dream? And the critics: even worse, almost tough with brains.

The last review I wrote was almost pitiable. I could have made it less meandering, but I never did understand what reviews were for. Too many written, not enough poems.

The girls I drove in Uber made fun of me in Korean, my soprano voice. They were young, hanging out in Buckhead. I barely spoke to them, but I heard the mockery as soon as I did.

For the first time, I no longer want to be cool. I no longer feel like a bleeding commodity. For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t wish any of that on anyone.

Laura Carter is a poet and writer living in Atlanta, GA, where she finished her MFA in creative writing in 2007. She has published several chapbooks of poetry since then. She teaches humanities and freshman writing for a living.

Laura Carter lives and works in Atlanta, where she earned her MFA in poetry in 2007.

Image: “Blood Bath” by Sarah Sampson

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