Good Guests

   We sit in a room armored by light and surrounded 
by surfaces bright as mirrors. Everything shines and 
gives comfort, nothing is out of place and our hosts, 
too, are immaculate, each hair placed with the skill of 
a jeweler. Our words flutter and fail, too dusty, while 
theirs flow out in perfect paragraphs. We wonder why 
they invited us, disheveled and in tatters as we are, to 
enter their lives. Should we confess our unworthi-
ness? And oh we want to scour our brains for some 
small accomplishment but find nothing worthy, noth-
ing to equal the gleaming parquet of their smiles. 
They are so well-bred we can't believe our good luck, 
all our gnarled deceits brought here to be honored! 
And then, suddenly, we know: They're specialists to 
whom we've come with our shabby guilts and petty 
crimes to be killed with exquisite kindness.

From A Handbook for Writers by Vern Rutsala. Copyright © 2004 by Vern Rutsala. Reprinted by permission of White Pine Press. All rights reserved.