Courtney LeBlanc, Self-Portrait as a Form Rejection Letter


We appreciate the opportunity
to read your work, we know
there are many journals to choose
from and we’re honored you chose
ours. Unfortunately your poems
weren’t for us and we’ll have to pass.
Do not take this as a reflection
on the caliber of your work. We wish
you the best of luck placing
these poems elsewhere.

The editors

  1. The word appreciate means “to recognize the full worth of” and you wonder, has anyone fully appreciated you? Remember when you made him dinner, how you carefully cooked the chicken to ensure it wasn’t dried out and opened the wine to breathe and only had one glass before he arrived. And how he didn’t notice the way you’d folded the napkins or that the music playing was your favorite artist. How he wished for beer instead of wine. How he fucked you on the table after but didn’t help with the dishes.
  2. Oh, how you read – every book of poems, every novel. You eat up stories. Even when they don’t end happily ever after they still seem better than your life.
  3. So many choices: stay or leave? Go to bed annoyed again or tackle the beast you’ve been battling. Acknowledge things aren’t okay or just turn out the lights, close your eyes, sleep.
  4. It seems so simple to say: unfortunately things aren’t working out. Yet you never can, these words remain lodged in your throat. You learn to speak around them.
  5. Of course this will reflect poorly on you – another failed relationship, another failed attempt at life, another failure to stack on top of the last.
  6. You were never one to make wishes. When given a coin to throw into the fountain you pocketed it instead. A falling star made you cry. Blowing out the birthday candles never seemed worthy of a wish. Now you wonder if you’ve squandered all those wishes, all those chances to ask for something better.
  7. You don’t believe in luck, despite that four-leaf clover tattooed to your belly. You were nineteen, you can’t be held accountable for such foolishness.
  8. You begin wishing you could be somewhere else. Wishing, like Dorothy, you could click your heels together and magically be returned to a happier place. You buy red shoes. You wear them when you finally get the courage to leave.

Courtney LeBlanc is the author of Beautiful & Full of Monsters (forthcoming from Vegetarian Alcoholic Press), chapbooks All in the Family (Bottlecap Press) and The Violence Within (Flutter Press); a Pushcart Prize nominee; and a finalist in The Furious Gazelle Spring 2019 Writing Contest. She obtained her MBA from the University of Baltimore and her MFA from Queens University of Charlotte. She loves nail polish, wine, and tattoos. Read her publications on her blog. Follow her on Twitter @wordperv and Instagram @wordperv79.

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