by Margaret King
The scholar wishes she had begun writing poetry many years ago, that she had been writing it all along, all along. The scholar regrets that she buried her true self under intellectual thought, and for years, thought using words like “beautiful” was weak and silly and a ploy to get someone into bed. She mistrusted beauty for so long, because she couldn’t really feel, because she feared ridicule and rejection, and because study was her strength, or so she thought, so she was told throughout her childhood and college years.
The scholar had never been pretty or popular or especially gifted in sports or in being nice or kind or selfless, and so, she buttressed herself behind books and essays and philosophy, because rejecting her scholarly arguments was not a rejection of her, but of mere ideas. As scholarly arguments were built on the shoulders of other scholars’ work and thoughts, there was a solidarity to it. Rejecting a thesis was challenging the great thinkers before her, and that was exciting and the point of research, anyway.
Still, the scholar concludes that she was an asshole a lot of the time during this period–not intentionally, but is only now learning how to be a better person. After all, all her emotions and love and appreciation for the beautiful and broken things were there all along, just sleeping so far under the snow, so frozen, that they were hibernating and rarely came out for nourishment. The scholar can always tell people her poetry is fiction, and that way, if they scoff or become angry at something she has written, she can claim it isn’t autobiographical. Hopefully. For the most part.
The scholar used to hate winter growing up, but now she has a child, and the child’s sheer joy at waking up to snow, his cheerful intrepid donning of layers to march outside and embrace the cold, make her excited, even if vicariously. The scholar should buy him new snowpants today, as her town just got its first snow unexpectedly early in the season.
But instead, the scholar is sitting here, writing this informal essay about how she’s no longer afraid to talk about all the beauty she sees around her.
Margaret King enjoys penning poetry and flash fic. Her recent work has appeared in MoonPark Review, Levatio Magazine, Nightingale & Sparrow, and Great Lakes Review. In 2021, she was nominated for a Pushcart for her eco-flash fiction story “The Sky Is Blue.” She teaches tai chi in Wisconsin. She is also the author of the poetry collection, Isthmus.