Editor's Confession

Thanks for your submission. Though not
accepted for publication, it was read
with admiration by several of our editors.

But not by me. I hated it—from your
lethargic opening sentence, with its screwed-
up metaphors and impossible syntax, to your

closing lines reeking of clichés so stale
I had to scrape them from the bottom
of my shoes. In fact, I shudder whenever

an envelope with your return address
appears in my mailbox—your poems
back again like a cur growling for my

attention, your careworn, shopworn
essays wayward and hazy as a drunken
driver, your fiction better left unmentioned,

foul as an eight-year-old boy’s sock
drawer. I don’t mean to discourage you—
wait, check that—I do mean to discourage

you, stop your outpouring, stanch the wound
you call your writing, that damp spot you
should quit probing. Years from now, you’ll

thank me for not printing you—years from
now, when you’re a chess master or master
chef or airline pilot, when you’ve become

the talent you’re meant to be, not a drowning
passenger too scared to use the life preserver
dangling off the side of your swiftly sinking ship.

Allison Joseph