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Lee Todd Lacks March Madness Winner Member Write Showcase

Missive

By Lee Todd Lacks

This is the poem I like the least
when I dare to look in the mirror
and write nothing but the truth
Holy fuck
I’m so stuck
I’m not gonna lie and
say I wasn’t reeling before
Corona hit the ceiling
my paint has been peeling
for quite some time now
all these grand delusions
of respectability
I was convinced that I could
reinvent myself
if only the illuminati would let me
so I could be a part of something
that mattered
hearing science and biotechnology
conversations that didn’t involve typing
on a computer screen
with a group of bosom friends
who had grown close
after the first few weeks of classes
that were kicking our rear ends
slouching on couches at some
family-owned coffee shop
where the girls were past the point
of caring whether or not I was staring
as they lounged with their legs uncrossed
and their dresses riding high

you ask me if I need help
when you see me stumble around at night
and I lie and say that I’m alright
not because I am
but simply because I hate the fact
that you feel compelled to ask
and when you think I’m out of earshot
I can almost hear you thank God you’re not 
as I walk down this cobblestone paved
street 
past the sprawling bars and restaurants
strings of incandescent lights hanging all
around like the midway of some surreal
carnival
I might as well be walking upon
a river that Medusa petrified with her gaze
to spite the pretty girls in their
spikey heels
as I maneuver boundary ropes and picnic
tables where drunken revelers sit elbow to elbow
wondering why this legally blind guy
is wandering in their midst
 
I can’t tell you how many times
I imagined showing you the admission letter
that I had received from some prestigious
university
informing me that I had been accepted into
the doctoral program of my choice 
I imagined the whole family in the kitchen
where we would all rejoice
brothers, sisters-in law, nephews,
and you
the day I shared the life-changing news
and I imagined both of us crying
and you being so happy
as I kept insisting that you were
the reason I got in
because for the first time
in forever
I had done something
worth mentioning

every time I exercise
I tell myself
I’m preparing
for my triumphant return
training for a competition
I may never be invited to join
and the nephrologist with the repressed
affect seems almost amused by the
fact that I’m not nearly as sick my numbers 
say I should be
why wouldn’t she?
deep down inside
I can’t help but think
I might not have much time
but I need to believe
there will come a day when you
will hear me sing and play again
and if I try my very best
I might be someone worth remembering
and there will come a day
when we walk through that
hallowed, wrought-iron gate
and I will be so proud to
introduce you to everyone
so they can meet the person who
made me
 
I’m not gonna lie
I don’t know where I am
and I don’t know how I’m going
as I hobble back over these cobblestone streets
but believe me when I tell you
I will find my way back.

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