In an Auditorium
I'm reading a story out loud
when a woman in the back starts sobbing.
Her friend puts an arm around her shoulders.
I keep reading. She keeps sobbing.
I want to say: None of this is true. I made it up.
I want to say: This isn't a bad death;
this character's been ill a long time.
I want to say: Hey! You're driving me nuts.
I want to say: I'm sorry for your loss.
I want to say: Thank you! Oh, thank you.
Karen Stromberg is a Californian who writes poetry and short fiction. She has received two Pushcart Prize nominations and a 'Statement of Accomplishment' from coursera's first 'Modern and Contemporary American Poetry' class.