Nostalgic for the Silence

Now that he is writing poetry
and people find out, they want
to know his favorite poets.

He doesn’t know. He likes a
little of this one and maybe
some or a lot of that one and

he uses some poets’ poetry
to practice forms. He feels
like a dumb cluck not being

able to roll poets and poetic
periods and styles off his cluck-
ing tongue. When he was active

in ministry and people found out,
they never asked, “Who is your
favorite theologian?” If they

had, he wouldn’t know what
to say any more than he knows
what to say when asked about

poets. In fact, conversation
would just come to a screeching
halt — stop in an awkward pause

not a pregnant one. It was
more like an abortion. People
would swallow hard and tilt

their heads to the side. People
just didn’t know what to say
when they found out he was

a minister. His wife used to
beg him not to tell anyone be-
cause of the embarrassment

everyone seemed to experience.
It was always a real conversation
killer. It never seemed approp-

riate for someone to say, “Really,
hmm. That’s very nice — a
minister. Well, golly gee, can

I get you another martini, Rever-
end?” even though some did. He
used to hate that deafening

silence. Now, he gets nostal-
gic for it, especially when
people find out he is a poet.

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