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Write for Me

A poem for the people.

Published onOct 23, 2022
Write for Me

Listen to “Write for Me” read by the author.

It was in the golf club smoking lounge
(where no smoking is allowed)
that I overheard a conversation between
two literary elites.

I was trying to mind my own, with a roll
of paper towels under one arm and glass
cleaner in my other hand, but it was hard to
ignore the cerebral electricity.

I have such a penchant, said one man,
for the exploration of the existential
being. I kept wiping tabletops but
nearly split my face with a grin.

Ah! Yes! said the other. I did come across
one piece the other day I found particularly
intriguing. I’ve got the copy here. Shall I
read it aloud?

Oh, please do! I said in my head.

The man cleared his throat and began:
Vagrant waste stretched taut with fury
silence in the stills—evening: wafer-thin
razors over bars that bind the rats.

I waited, but that was it.

Profound, said the first man. I can feel it
here. He points to the center of his chest.
I’m not sure if he means his heart or a bad
case of acid reflux.

I move on to the mantle, bringing my
feather duster with me. The reading man
mentions another piece, something about
goats and wind chimes—

but I’m no longer listening. I’m thinking
if I was an editor, I’d be looking for poems
that actually speak to people like me.
Or, if I was a writer, I’d write something
like this:

black and white—the color of my uniform,
the color of my duties,
the color of my life;

no one asks me what colors I like; it doesn’t
matter as long as I do my job
and don’t complain;

my stockings are too tight and my legs ache
with the weight of my body and the world
on my shoulders.

I carry me; I carry my daughter, the one
whose father disappeared in the night
six years ago;

speak English, they say, and I do, except
when I’m alone at night and I call out
Dios me salve—God save me.

The men leave the smoking room
(where no one can smoke)
and I pick up their empty cups,
their candy wrappers,
and the copy of the poem for which
the one man had such a penchant
and throw them all in the trash.

Arvilla Fee has been married for 20 years and has five children. She teaches English Composition for Clark State College. She has been published in numerous presses including Poetry Quarterly, Inwood Indiana, 50 Haikus, Contemporary Haibun Online, Drifting Sands Haibun, Bright Flash Literary Review, Teach/Write, Acorn, Last Leaves Magazine and others. She also won the Rebecca Lard award for best poem in the Spring 2020 issue of Poetry Quarterly. What Arvilla loves most about writing is the ability to make people feel something. Due to life experiences and family members with addictions, she often finds herself writing about the grittier side of life. For Arvilla, poetry is never about rising to the heights of literary genius but about being in the trenches with ordinary people who will say, “She gets me.”

SAR is proud to announce that Arvilla will be joining us as our new Poetry Editor.

Michael Dunn:

I’d just liked to say that this piece is absolutely brilliant. Not only does it have a wonderfully conversational quality but its crushing critique of the literary industry and its “elites” is necessary while still veiled with personal experience and apathy.

Arvilla Fee:


Thank you so much for your kind comments. “Write for Me” was definitely intended as a critique of the literary industry. I’ve read countless poetry magazines, herald as high art, that left me shaking my head in utter confusion. I’ve never understood how writers (or editors) can produce work that literally no one can understand. I will forever root for the people who long to connect with what they read and write for them!