You used me up, used me and discarded me
like an old pen. The old pen that I so treasured and kept
in my desk drawer.
True, it was worn and old, having endured its own series of tests.
It has seen many a paper and many a hand scribble
across a page, drawing their own picture of a life to be.
And then those same hands have discarded the pen,
crumpled the paper and thrown the outline of that life
into the trash. That waste basket contains the outline of my life;
each failed attempt can be pieced back together
to show the various drafts I have survived.
But, after each of those drafts the pen still remained,
tucked back safely into the drawer until the next came along
and borrowed it, only to return it later to the dark warmth
of familiar idleness.
Even when the outline became complex and the ink ran out
there were cartridges that only needed to be changed
out for a fresh one, and then back to outlining.
Your outline has been, by far, the most complex.
Not just one sheet of paper, or two,
or five, or ten, but dozens have consumed
by the scrawling drawings of your drawings.
You found the pen with a fresh cartridge, ready
for the long haul, for the epic novel of our relationship.
And the pen hoped it could end with “…ever after.”
In some ways it now has, it is ever after, but
“happily” does no precede. After so many pages
the draft began to fall apart.
It became apparent the basis of the story was
perhaps more of a steam of rambling consciousness
the pen obliviously though was going some place.
And then it happened, in the middle of a sentence, in the mid
dle of a word it stopped, the pen gave up.
You tried tapping it against the table, scribbling it in circles,
smashing the tip into the smooth pulpy paper,
but to no avail.
The cartridge had run out, the pen had no more
ink. Perhaps if you had changed it out the rambling
would have found its purpose,
the drawing taken shape. But instead you discarded the pen,
found a new one, fresh from a package
with no bite marks or hand worn out labels.
You discarded the pen into the trash, the same trash
that contained all the other outline that were cast away.
Leaving it, leaving me, with nothing
to keep company but the remains of failed attempts.
by – Dawn Wilfong