When I Was an Unfinished Novel

Maureen Seaton


When I was an unfinished novel, wed
to throes of impossible and humdrum,
I fretted right up to the untold end. 

I agonized over weaponry and plums,
the songs of bacteria, the D
NA of yellow, the bright cunning 

of bloodshed, then hoped for something witty,
something with a theme I could be proud of,
a symbol to debate with, fancy free 

from the stink of history and blight of love.
Give me now and real, I said, and wandered
off through three hundred pages of fluff 

before I chopped myself down and pondered
the novella. All along, I’d made
a goofy protagonist. It never occurred 

I might be the last to know why we need
what we need or why we think we need what
we want. I mulled, I mused, I traded 

personas and points of view, in a rut
one dim revision, wholly pumped the next—
until, white flag high, I gave the damn thing up.