Poetry 2014 / Volume 45

Rejection — Tanner Brossart

Every morning, on my way
To work, I see a coffee cup
On the ground
Spilling its contents into the world. A hint of mocha mixes with many automobile
Exhausts.
I recognize the logo on the receipt
Taped to the cup, the shop it came from
Isn’t too bad. Maybe a bit bitter, but warmer
Than the sunshine of a grandmother’s home.

We’re publishing short stories in our latest magazine, and the boss
Is looking for a diamond in the 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. rough.
I’ve been preparing for this all week, and I write back to the time
My grandmother took me fishing at a river one morning,
And I caught a trout, and she thought of a way to tell
Me that my father had passed away, and I called it Dad.
But somehow that was turned down,
Something about the audience being too receptive to death and

The next day I see the short stories, but where others see fiction
I see blank slots where my work could’ve been inserted.
My co-worker Hugo was put in there, with some putrid garbage he calls
Love that I can’t seem to understand.
But I’m sure it’s not personal, it never is (what a shame,
That would make things so much easier to explain).
I don’t have work, so I drive down the street to get proper reception
And call Grandma; I say I’m sorry, Grams, Dad couldn’t make it,
And she says isn’t that what I told you way back when?
Afterwards I go back on the street and,
Outside the car window, find that same coffee cup that’s
Bleeding its heart out to an uncaring world, and I want to
Help it, set it upright, throw it away,

But I can’t find a proper
Receptacle.

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