The f word slumps in my hand,
a dead poem splayed in my palm,
belly up with its eyes clinched shut,
closed tight with cartoon xs.

The editor said it was a failure,
its faint breathing in and out
a sign of its doom, its demise
signed by my fondness for cliches.

Poor poem, it was pushed to the limits,
embarrassed to be poked and prodded,
sent out into the world before it could
speak or look for an exit to this maze.

Mary Herbert