Picture me standing outside of my professors’ offices with plastic-wrapped plates of cookies. In my mind, this was not bribery but a nice gesture in anticipation of their recommendation. It’s something my mother would have said couldn’t hurt, unlike everything I don’t know and can’t predict. Think of all the gas money it will cost me to get to Chicago. Then there’s parking and prosecco, the obligatory compliment or two. What if I mistake a poisonous berry for an edible one? What if I build those contacts then make excuses to be alone among them with family money? What if American poetry threatens my monogamy? What if this image of me charting new territory feels like your turf, long ago set in stone?
Beth McDermott is a writer in the Southwest suburbs of Chicago. Her chapbook, How to Leave a Farmhouse, was published by Porkbelly Press. Recent poetry, reviews, and criticism appear in Kenyon Review Online, Tupelo Quarterly, and The Trumpeter. Essays and reviews about art and ecology can be found in After the Art, American Book Review, the Spoon River Poetry review blog and Kudzu House Quarterly.