I’m sorry, could you repeat that. I’m hard of hearing.
To the cashier
To the receptionist
To the insistent man asking directions on the street
I’m sorry, I’m hard of hearing. Could you repeat that?
At the business meeting
In the writing workshop
On the phone to make a doctor’s appointment
Hello, my name is Sorry
To full rooms of strangers
I’m hard to hear
I vomit apologies everywhere
They fly on bat wings
towards whatever sound beckons
I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I am so, so sorry
and not hearing
I regret to inform you
Copyright © 2020 by Camisha L. Jones. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 3, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.
Doubt is easy. You welcome it, your old friend.
Poet Edward Field told a bunch of kids,
Invite it in, feed it a good dinner, give it a place to sleep
on the couch. Don’t make it too comfortable or
it might never leave. When it goes away, say okay, I’ll see you
again later. Don’t fear. Don’t give it your notebook.
As for bad reviews, sure. William Stafford advised no credence to
praise or blame. Just steady on.
Once a man named Paul called me “a kid.” I liked kids
but I knew he meant it as an insult. Anyway, I was a kid.
I guess he was saying, why should we listen to kids?
A newspaper described a woman named Frieda being asked
if “I was serious” and “she whistled.” What did that mean?
How do you interpret a whistle? This was one thing that bothered me.
And where did Frieda ever go?
Copyright © 2020 by Naomi Shihab Nye. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 14, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.