THANK YOU, a poem based on a rejection letter from a literary journal

I was rejected by a poetry journal & found the language of their letter kind of amazing & so I wrote a poem based on it. The poem will appear in a forthcoming book THE MOST CHARMING CREATURES (Fall 2022, ECW Press)




We are unable to accept 

these poems 


We are on fire and possibly

infected. The Poetry Editorial Board responded 


strongly, admiring your craft and total rage

but disagreed about how to extinguish


fire or end infection.

Eat the rich. 


They’re not infected. The poems struck 

like bowling balls in a flu


knocking readers down.

We coughed. Our flesh burned. 

Yet our eyes are the same old eyes. 

Other readers may respond 


differently if they’re in quarantine

or underwater.


Maybe in time 

the poems will find good homes 


far from shrieking coastlines. 

We hear the shrink of birds


forests denuding foxes. Our offices have returned

to nature. Moss grows on our managing 


editor. Our tweed unravels 

an economy of entropy.


Like trees our inbox 

warps time.


And like time, our out boxes 

are on fire and like your blood


you should certainly keep 

these poems in circulation.


This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but 

while we watch.