After he read the poem to the group
it was so quiet you could hear the drone
of the air conditioning fan whining
that it's being punished by having
to listen to words as exciting as a puddle.
Someone said “I loved the poem's language”
which really means “English was a good choice”.
Then someone else said “it's very
precise” and that means “you wouldn't know
a metaphor if you fell over it.”
After another pause the leader said
“I enjoyed reading it” and that means
“your abysmal poem makes me feel so much
better about my own writing” or else
“you're totally deluded, aren't you?”
Then silence and he looked at his poem again
and thought “ they're right. What can anyone
say about it? I mean it doesn't say anything,
lines are cold, the language trite and confused
and it has all the colour of a plastic flower.
The poem can't be either shocked or gently
massaged back to life. He should burn it
or watch it sink to the bottom of the ocean
or bury it or put it through a shredder
and trust that other, better poems will come.