by David Kramer


I who wrote one poem in college thirty years ago,¹

Walked into a cemetery,

Lit my first cigarette in ten years,

And wrote a poem in my mind.

Lacking pen, I found a Starbucks,

Scrap paper and a black Sharpie.

Within fifteen minutes, finis.²

The Brighton Cemetery off Winton Road, June 2015 [selfie]
The images and dreams

Taken from another person.

But who cares?


Then the letter.³

To be published in an upcoming issue.

A complete novice.

Absolutely unprecedented and unimaginable.

The luminaries who grace the pages

Of The New Yorker!

At the Tom Otterness sculptures on University Ave holding a New Yorker, October 2015

Friends and family for the rest of their lives

To be speechless.

The Department of English

In which I serve as an adjunct

To be dumbfounded.


I who never play the lottery,

Won the lottery.

(left) Memorabilia box; (right) In the box, “The Box,” a poem written to the poem’s narrator by the object of his affection.

The woman

Whose life I borrowed,

Who left me,

Will come back.


¹ The poem the narrator wrote in college could be “Providence, Summer 1989”

²  The poem the narrator wrote in Starbucks could be “A Period of Mutually Agreed Upon Reflection”

³ The rejection letter David Kramer received from The New Yorker:

Dear David,

Thank you for submitting your poetry to The New Yorker. We regret that we are unable to carry your work in the magazine, but we are grateful for the opportunity to read and consider it.


Paul Muldoon, Poetry Editor
Elisabeth Denison, Poetry Coordinator


David Kramer has a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. Over the years, he has taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. Also a former but still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History.  David has published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in the The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Providence Journal, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, and the CITY.  His site can be found at: