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To Lose A World

Updated on November 9, 2014
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Each semester I tallied my ratio

of submissions landing in the literary magazine

as a basketball player his free-throw record:

one for two, two for three, four for six,

six for eight. I shunned the honor

of editorship for my senior year,

unwilling to banish my words from billowing

forth on the magazine’s pages like

sails cruising it into beauty.


At least I manned its Electives Fair booth,

keeping myself company in the crowd.

From the abutting table, Journalism

classmates hectored above the hubbub

of ardent newspaper aspirants, “What do you do

in Literary Magazine?” The creative cadre

who received me as one of their number

and breathed the aesthetic flair into the magazine

had flown; too few current students

deemed the class worth a schedule slot,

dooming us to meet on our own time.


“He has a problem. Why doesn’t he just fix it

and stop wallowing in mental self-flagellation?”

the novice volunteers would moan over a character’s

intermezzo of introspection. To them

the heart’s design was sturdy and straightforward

as a balsa model bridge for Engineering class,

brisk and efficient in furthering

its purpose as a line of programming code.

No notion of how, involuted, it folds

over and chokes its own growth,

or its fluidity, bayous and oxbows

siphoning off its current from its true course.


We filled out the same scoring forms as always,

though, typed proofs on the same floppy disk

in the same suavely chiseled Garamond font,

churned out on the same Commercial Graphics presses

sheets to be folded and stapled to pastel

cardstock powdered with the front illustration’s shading.

How easy to lose a world before

you gather it’s gone when you think too much

of how to hang onto where you want to belong there,

and in what remains the wheels keep spinning in place.

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    • Robert Levine profile image
      Author

      Robert Levine 2 years ago from Brookline, Massachusetts

      Thank you Julie!

    • Julie K Henderson profile image

      Julie K Henderson 2 years ago

      I like what you have done here. The phrase "intermezzo of introspection" is catchy. Voted up.