"My motto is Yes, But."

Self-Portrait As Runner Up

I've never been a shoe-in. I'm aways flappable,
and when I make a joke it's like fumbling
for change. My motto is Yes, But.
I'm everyone's third choice, and rightly so,
because I couldn't blaze a trail
in butter. Most of my twenties
I spent paging through catalogs,
my thirties struggling with a stuck zipper.

Now, in my cruise-control forties,
I seem to watch the weather channel
in my sleep. I've never gone
without saying. Believe me, I need
plenty of introduction. When the comet
everyone's mad about appears
in the northern sky, I see lint,
a dim and vaguely luminous idea,
celestial smudge on my glasses.

Still, more and more mornings I wake
and let the cracks and cobwebs
on the ceiling swim for a moment
in my blurred, dread-stirred eyes.
Then rise with a relish past fame
to tend a fire as common as it seems rare.

David Graham

David Graham teaches writing and literature at Ripon College, edits poetry for Blue Moon Review, and has published four collections of print poetry, most recently Second Wind , Texas Tech UP--available through Amazon.com. Poems of his have appeared online at Cortland Review, Crania, ForPoetry, and CrossConnect, among others; his personal favorite is "The Dogs in Dutch Paintings " at Poetry Daily.

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