Willie Smith

Closet Entrance

Best pep rally I never went to,
I stood the nearly-nude 
editor of the lit mag against the wall; 
falling one silly millimeter shy 
of broaching her vulva; 
before an abrupt knock at the door 
ended the festivities. The editor 
flipped on the light; hustled into her dress. 
I snatched pants up from ankles; buckled, zipped. 
We tossed the editor’s slip and panties 
into a sack intended for uncollated pages 
to the spring issue. She opened the door 
on Mrs. Forget-Who, a social studies teacher 
in search of scratch, knew the kingsize 
walk-in closet that did for the lit mag office 
often stored misprinted pages 
teachers were welcome to take for scratch. 
I let the editor do the talking; and fast she talked, 
explaining, above the odors of live teenage sex, 
we were in the midst of an argument
about a poem when came the knock, 
and we hurriedly tidied the mess created 
when she had earlier thrown a pile of issues at me 
to, uh, demonstrate the correctness of her opinion. 
She was, after all, the editor; me? Oh, 
a potential contributor. Pep rally? 
Oh, yes, the rally for the big game tonight, 
of course; honestly, just slipped our minds. Poetry 
demands inordinate amounts of unmitigated focus. 
She got off with the English teacher sponsor of the lit mag 
admonishing her to pay closer attention to school-approved 
non-literary activities. I got off invisibly; 
as a potential contributor, someone obviously 
insignificant and not going anywhere in life, 
I failed to be worth wasting hot air on. 
I date – astonished at the editor’s creativity under fire – 
from that bang on the door forward,  
my fascination with poetry and the literary arts. 
My subsequent anonymous contribution 
(loath to cloud the editor’s eye 
with an affair of the heart) was, 
of course, rejected.  

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