Author’s Note: I wrote “Learn to Sail” in a poetry workshop. The assignment was to write about an instance where you misunderstood what was said. Just then a woman poked her head in the door, saying, “I’m dropping off brochures on ‘Learning to Sail.’ I honestly thought she said “Learning to Fail,” and the class burst out laughing. I instantly had my topic for the assignment.
Learn to Sail
When our poetry teacher said
learn to sail,
I heard learn to fail, a course
I would have aced. I failed math
in junior high so badly
I was given a rolled-up, blank
paper at my eighth-grade graduation.
When learning to meditate, I blurted
“I masturbated this morning!”
It wasn’t even true.
I’ve said pummel when I meant plummet,
forsaken instead of forgiven, misgiven
for mistaken, spring instead of fall.
And once I said hate when I meant love.
Donna Reis writes from New York’s Hudson Valley. Her debut poetry collection, No Passing Zone (Deerbrook Editions, 2012) was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is co-editor and a contributor to the anthology, Blues for Bill: A Tribute to William Matthews (Akron Poetry Series, 2005), and the author of a nonfiction book, Seeking Ghosts in the Warwick Valley (Schiffer Publishing, Ltd, 2003). She received a MA in creative writing at The City College of New York and an MS in early childhood education from Hunter College. Website: www.donnareis.com.
Delmarva Review publishes new poetry and prose selected from thousands of submissions annually. The 13th annual edition includes work by 64 authors. As an independent nonprofit, the literary journal receives partial financial support from a Talbot County Arts Council grant with funds from the Maryland State Arts Council. Readers can purchase copies from Amazon.com and other major online booksellers, and from regional specialty booksellers like Mystery Loves Company, in Oxford. All writers are welcome to submit their best work until March 31, to be considered for the 14th edition. See the website: www.DelmarvaReview.org.