The One Thing

I cannot live without poetry. I’ve tried. I have tried to be any number of things besides a poet, and I would not recommend poetry as a career path for anyone. You may well find yourself, like me, twenty-eight, with several degrees and no regular job. You may find yourself babysitting the way you started when you were twelve, bartending to day-drinkers, scanning documents for nine hours at a time under the flimsy guise that you are a “legal assistant” --an embellished job title for what this task is worth. 

I cannot live without poetry. A chaplain told me once that poetry was the truest language of theology. He also told me I reminded him of Joan of Arc. All I know is that I need to string together soft words to tell you about the way the deer appeared in the twilight mist the day a woman I know found out her cancer had returned. When my rage builds and I think I won’t survive, I need to sit with a pen, with a scrap of paper, with a computer, and open the little gate that holds my feelings at bay and let them turn into words. 

I don’t have the most eclectic vocabulary or the most sophisticated ideas. I come up with fifty terrible poems for every one that might be worth anything. My whole life, I excelled in school. I was preparing to be “successful,” whatever that means. I was bound for great things. And poetry, in my view, in my life, is essential. It is the one thing:

Put words


Richmond, VA

Lucy Hester is a writer living in Richmond, VA. Read some more of her poems on Hopefully she'll get around to updating it soon!