Sample Poems:

RICHARD WAKEFIELD

Singled Out

This morning someone woke
to find his life has changed
forever at a stroke
but not for good. Estranged
by chance, or fate, or God
from who he was last night,
he lay there puzzled, awed,
distraught that something slight
as, say, an oncogene,
submicroscopic, thrust
him out of his routine.
It’s criminal. Unjust.
He rose and dressed and sought
the self he knew but found
that every moment brought
another shock. He frowned
into the mirror to shave:
a deathshead grimaced back.
The morning paper gave
him names outlined in black
of those who’d been like him,
alive awhile, then not,
forever. Determined, grim,
he tried to put the thought
aside but had no luck.
He’s singled out, he feels,
like someone lightning-struck,
and all of his appeals
go up unheard. And yet
tonight while changing clothes
for supper he’ll forget
for just a moment, pose
before his mirror and see
himself alive, smooth-faced.
He’ll knot his tie, then he
will feel a need for haste
to get somewhere -- but where?
For some important date?
And then it’s back: despair,
this sense of being late.

 

[RICHARD WAKEFIELD teaches at the University of Washington, Tacoma, and Tacoma Community College. He has published numerous articles, reviews, and essays on American literature, and his poems have been published in The Edge City Review, Pivot, Hellas, Tampa Review, Light, and other literary periodicals. He is also the Poetry Critic for the Seattle Times.]

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