I was hiking in intermittent drizzle north of Neel Gap, Georgia, the breeze cooling noticeably as the sun set behind an overcast thick right down to the very pebbles. To my amazed delight, the fog slowly began to turn a deep shade of dark gold, almost reddish. I sat on a log and watched the spectacle of deepening nightfall all around me, a sort of dimming Rembrandt painting.
What could be better than this?
Out of habit, I checked the battery level and connection strength on my phone — I hike alone and try to send at least one text to my wife right before bedding down for the night — when I noticed I had email.
From 2River View, where I had a poetry submission pending.
It was probably a rejection.
Per my calculation, 99.95% of the submissions I’ve sent out since starting to try and publish again on January 2011 have been rejected. A full two years of rejections went by before my first acceptance in January of 2013. And more rejections have followed since.
I decided to open the email anyway and get it over with, though I really shouldn’t have for the sake of my phone’s battery.
It was an acceptance.
And what could be better than that?
“Encore” started as a dream poem.
“Seeing My Father” begins with an echo of Lamentations 1:1 and owes its existence to Seamus Heaney’s “The Door Was Open and the House Was Dark.”