I’m proud of my work,
if you can call it work:

I am, also, fond
of far-off lightning, and completed connections,

and and and and and and and and.
I want to be everyone’s long-distance friend,

a second-chance source for anyone’s tenuous spark.
Like sex, I may be overemphasized,

overlooked and misused, kept out of the most polite quarter.
No mark I make should ever

be final. I love the idea of public performance,
like a girl on a wheel in a spotlight on a wire.

I see myself as neither straight nor curved.
And yet I am all too familiar with

the experience of creativity as temptation,
the feeling that you are always required

to volley, that you are never allowed to serve.
Every tragedian I know is a liar:

the announced end of a story is never
the end. That postcredits scene is my salvation,

my first line of self-defense,
the board I break, the myth I use against myth.

I am insatiable, forever
and always still swimming, and on my way. I take

and wonder whether I give. I know what it’s like
to believe you have an appeal you never deserved.

Stephanie Burt