When You Live with a Poet
When you live with a poet, you know exactly which three-year-old work she means when she asks, “Did you like the enjambment in the second stanza?”
When you live with a poet, you are expected to know words like “enjambment.”
When you live with a poet, you need to have a job. It is hard to retire on a poet’s salary.
Right from the start of your life with the poet, you come to understand that she does not see the world in the same way as other people.
When you live with a poet, you realize that books make gift-giving easy and cheap, especially when bought second hand. The poet thinks that used books have more character anyway.
While working at your job because you are living with a poet, you learn not to panic when you receive an email with URGENT!!!! in the subject line, knowing it will contain her latest work, which “Really needs to be proofread now. It is very important that I don’t miss the deadline for _____ Review.”
When corresponding with a poet, it is advisable not to write sarcastic replies about the “importance” of submitting anything to ________ Review.
When you live with a poet, you get used to being plagiarized, although the poet prefers to call it “fair use.”
When you live with a poet, you somehow know without asking that the fair use policy is not reciprocal.
One night, during your life with the poet, you will find yourself explaining that her reading Auden out loud while you do the dishes is not quite the equal division of labor she seems to think it is.
When you live with a poet, you become very good at counting syllables and thinking of rhymes.
When you argue with a poet, it is bad news if she starts taking notes.
Even though you live with the poet, she thinks you will somehow believe her latest poem is not “autobiographical in any way.”
When you live with a poet, you sometimes catch her staring at teacups or laughing at a single sock. You pray to god that this has something to do with being a poet.
When discussing living arrangements with the poet, you actually hear her say that she will do the laundry when she “is inspired.”
Sometimes you wish you did not live with a poet.
When you live with a poet, you learn it is a compliment if your newly baked bread has her reaching for a pen instead of a butter knife.
If, while cohabitating with your poet, you hear the hoover running, you do not assume that this means she has been inspired into domestic duties. You know it is just as likely you will find her sitting next to the vacuum with a worried expression on her face, “Does it sound more like Brrrrr or Wrrrrr? I can’t get the onomatopoeia right.”
When you live with a poet, you automatically reply it is more like “Vrrrrr,” as if this kind of thing happens all the time in other houses.
When you live with a poet, you are amazed by her creativity, but wish she didn’t always have such a goddamn active imagination.
When you live with a poet, you live with a poet.
After a few years living with a poet, you start to worry about who will have to pack all those books when you move.
When you have spent enough time living with a poet, you no longer complain when her typing wakes you up at night. Instead you put in earplugs and go back to sleep, content that at least she is writing.
Living with a poet is easier when she is writing than when she is not.
Every day you live with the poet, you become more and more grateful she does not see the world the same way as other people.
You hope you will always live with the poet.
Jeff Zroback / Co-editor
27 February, 2011
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