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Amy Gerstler



Leniency Letter


OK. I’m bowing and scraping. Apologizing

for my body and its bloat, for my wadded-up mind,

for getting drunk in my underwear so many times,

for my sense of humor which only ever bummed 

everyone out. I’m sorry for changing the carnation

in my lapel twice a day. That was wasteful. I

regret not wanting what I’m supposed to want.

I’m begging pardon for singing so loudly and out

of tune on balconies when people were trying

to sleep, for never running for a bus like I meant it.

In my own defense I will say that like any spooky

moon, my head is beset with craters and dark regions.

It’s easily chipped. To all the happy little plants

sprouting spiny, alien fruits who I failed to salute

each day in their noble growth as I crossed the train

tracks on my way to work, mea culpa. I feel special

remorse for populating my ark, as floodwaters

rose, turbid as a dirty martini, solely with animals

I found sexually attractive, then allowing the mouths

of some to rust shut. That was wrong. After all,

they are my kin. Are we square now? Can I go?




A. C. Grayling

Matt Hanson

Rebecca Priestley

David Toomey

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