The Girl at the End of the Tunnel (poem)

I’ve been dealing with a nasty bout of the flu and an ear infection, both of which have laid me lower than I expected. During the worst of it, I didn’t write anything except a sad, rambling jumble about how much my ear hurt and how sick I was of not being able to hear well out of it (that’s still the case, but I’m hoping antibiotics will fix that).

I don’t normally talk about my health, but I’m grateful to have the energy and desire to write and post again. Here’s a poem I wrote some weeks ago that I rediscovered and thought I’d share.

The Girl at the End of the Tunnel

The girl at the end of the tunnel is untogether.
This surprises me—I thought better of her family
than sending her out into the suburban wilds like this,
pieces of her body and mind spread thin in the dirt
at the tunnel’s entrance, the same place I first dug
out stones to place on the hearthstone of memory,
but I can’t trust my memory—it’s a thread given
to frequent tangles and knots that no one can figure
out, not even the blessed sailor home from three weeks
at sea, desperate for a glimpse of his daughter who
in another life will be the girl at the end of the tunnel,
and his heart will break as he calls her name into the wind.

I like this one a lot. I was going to submit it to some journals, but when I looked over the market, I said (not for the first time), “I’m tired of submitting poetry. I’ll just share this here.” I understand that, for most journals, this work is now considered published, and I’m okay with that. I spent most of last year submitting pieces, and I was successful in landing quite a few…but publication isn’t the goal. Sharing my work is, and it’s so much easier to hop on WordPress and post a work than it is to research a market and submit my writing. Still, it isn’t laziness that draws me to post my work on the blog. It’s the sense that people are reading my work (more, I daresay, than read it in publications).

I’m sure I’ll get back to submitting soon enough. Perhaps over the summer when school’s out and I have more energy. In the meantime, I’ll share recent work here. Thanks for reading.

4 thoughts on “The Girl at the End of the Tunnel (poem)

  1. I enjoyed this one, Robert. It reminded me of Port Townsend. A town in WA i know with a rich history of ship building and women waiting for sailors.

    I appreciated even more your posting a poem because you wanted to share it. You’ve inspired me to cut one loose, one that I’ve been holding onto myself for some time, rather than fret about submitting. I’ve just started what I hope will be a year of constant submissions.

    1. Thanks, Mark. I wish you much luck in submitting. I still have a few pending response, but I just can’t get into submitting these days. I may have asked this already, but do you use Duotrope? Also, the Review Review (which is free) is quite good.

      1. Duotrope is a service that accumlates fiction, poetry, and visual art markets and allows you to track your submissions. I love it. I pay five dollars a month for it, and I also use Novlr for eight a month (it’s ten now…I started using the website when it first started, so I got it at a discount). Novlr stores your work in the cloud. I may have already said this, but my process is weird. I type poems in Novlr, copy them into Google Docs, and use Duotrope to track them.

        My fiction continues to be weak, except for dialogue. That’s always been my strength, so I’m considering either a screenplay or play. All that pesky description and getting characters from one scene to another has always been my downfall (with a few exceptions when my stories work). I read short fiction all the time, and I’ll keep working at it, but poetry is just easier…and who knows, maybe I’ll knock out a decent screenplay.

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