On Entering Elysium
On entering Elysium, Erato gives us a key
to the library of poems we did not write.
It is a moment of unbearable sadness. Some
refuse it. Some take the key, but never try
the lock. Some enter, find a chair and fall asleep.
Most shelves hold the dreams to didn’t remember,
or remembered for a while, but didn’t write down.
Next, shelf after shelf of journals of days unwritten,
not remembered, ideas that came so fast, a blink
blew them away, and the bits and pieces, poems even,
from your unopened or lost journals, and a little corner
for the few that found their way into the world.
At the end, waits the shelf of great poems you didn’t
have the confidence, courage, or ambition to attempt.
by Nils Peterson
from All the Marvelous Stuff
Caesura Editions, 2019