Slice of Life — A Story That Could Be True

I had to interview — or I should say I got to interview — Nick Flynn today, author of the memoir Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, also known as Being Flynn on the big screen. We mostly talked about teaching poetry to children — he used to be a teacher in the New York City schools. And we talked about his book with Stenhouse, A Note Slipped Under the Door.

He mentioned a poem that appears in that book by William Stafford. It was weird because I was flipping through the book last night as I was getting ready for the interview, and I came across that same poem and it just filled me with such… sadness. There are some poems, books, movies, and TV shows that are just off limits now that I have a kid, because I just can’t deal with the heartache I feel as I read or watch them.

I am sure I am violating copyright laws left and right, but here it is:

A Story That Could Be True
William Stafford

If you were exchanged in the cradle and
your real mother died
without ever telling the story
then no one knows your name,
and somewhere in the world
your father is lost and needs you
but you are far away.

He can never find
how true you are, how ready.
When the great wind comes
and the robberies of the rain
you stand on the corner shivering.
The people who go by —
you wonder at their calm.

They miss the whisper that run
any day in your mind,
“Who are you really, wanderer?”
and the answer you have to give
no matter how dark and cold
the world around you is”
“Maybe I’m a king.”

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