Poetry by Colette Tennant
Instead of telling the sophomore
her paper was stellar,
I should have filled her white margin
with my own sentence –
Your verbs are fresh as a newborn’s lips,
your nouns as solid as your father’s shoulders.
Instead of writing very good on that
read-everything-I-have-ever-assigned senior’s midterm,
I could have written, Your quote identifications
are more extravagant than Hunter Moons each September.
And for the young poet who, worried about blindness, wrote,
I don’t want to be a sad-eyed angel,
oh for her – charming¸ remarkable¸
even captivating, would have been inadequate.
I should have said, What sad-eyed angel could
write a sentence like that.
Its white wings unfold like morning lilies.
Its heartfelt plea stuns all our eyes with light.
Colette Tennant is an English professor. She has published two books of poetry, Commotion of Wings and Eden and After. Her most recent book, Religion in The Handmaid’s Tale: A Brief Guide, was published late in 2019 to coincide with Atwood’s publication of The Testaments. Her poems have appeared in various journals, including Prairie Schooner, Rattle, and Poetry Ireland Review.