Thank you for the comments and e-mails. I am flattered and overwhelmed, and was most excited to hear from young women readers.
I have to tell you, though I welcome everyone, you are my ideal reader. Often, the world presents you as giggly, celebrity-reading, shallow, shoe-obsessed. That is not you. That has never been you. I know that. I was you, and then I taught you, and I love you.
You are fourteen or sixteen or twelve or twenty. You are smarter than your English teacher (ie, me), smarter than the world is comfortable with you being. You hate high school. You have been kicked out for dying your hair or mouthing off, or maybe you just sit there and dream about mouthing off. You read Russian novels. You wear sweatshirts and overalls to hide your body. You save money from your shit job in a recipe tin. You dream of headlights. Hang on. You’ll get your chance.
You are the one I think about when I sit down to write. You, though sometimes I forget about you. I did for several years, and I’m sorry. I started writing poems, albeit unconsciously, for English professors and grad school workshops and absent-lovers. Well, that’s over.
My lover is here, and I write poems for you. From here on out, for you.