Thursday Poem

Not for Love or Money. Not on your life.

No, said the cabbie when I asked him to change the station.
No, said the waiter when I tried to apologize for spilling the soup.
No, said my mother, when I begged her to stop firing her nurses.
No, said my daughter, when I told her she’d feel better tomorrow.
Not now. Not ever. On no account.
Under no circumstances.

Oh, n, what would we do
without your almost blissfully stubborn
negativity, your fervent
refusal to look
on the bright side, your delight
in slamming the door with such emphasis
it’ll never be opened again? Doctrinaire. Single-minded.
Devoted to your convictions.
The nail driven in:
Nada. Null. Nicht. Nope. Nah.
As if that’s what the mouth was made for:
to find fault with as much as it can,
to settle for nothing
and to relish doing so.
No siree.
Not on your life. Not now.

by Christopher Bursk
from The First Inhabitants of Arcadia
University of Arkansas Press, 2006