So, you send out your work, get it back published in a magazine, an anthology, possibly without pay. Is that the end of that? Never!!! Once your work is published, any good thing can happen with it at any time. I just got a Facebook request from an editor for permission to use my poem, Friends for Life, that had been published in an anthology at least five years ago, in a dramatic reading. The editor's last dramatic reading (the subject is a friend's bout with cancer) raised $1500 for cancer research. Who knows what this reading will raise? For all kinds of reasons, get your work out there.
Here's my poem that an actor will read for the fundraiser:
Friends for Life
You’re 34, a year younger than the age your doctor believed
a woman should be tested.
Like malicious gossip, the cancer spread
from your breast to your lymph nodes.
Instead of 2 pert breasts, your chest now sports a mediport
to pump chemo in. Every 4 weeks for 6 more months,
you’ll be filled like your SUV at Amoco.
Listless, cake-lipped, nauseated, you lie in bed,
resting for hours to have the strength to read
a few pages of Harry Potter to your daughters—5 and 7.
The oldest hears the scream beneath your soft voice,
pulls herself back as if she’s happened upon a wicked sorcerer.
Her friend’s mother died last year even though the “C” word
was never said in her house either.
The doorbell. A flood of friends and neighbors
bringing self-help tapes, macrobiotic cookbooks,
the names of shamans and Rolphers, a brochure from a healing spa
in Romania, a gift certificate for you to fax your prayers
to the Wailing Wall, a subscription to Prevention.
I see your eyes blaze.
After you make your excuses,
we go back to your room.
“It’s always the healthy,” you say,
“who are expert at getting well.”
The phone rings. It’s your husband.
“He’s staying late at the office again,” you tell me
as you have each night since you’ve been home.
I lie in your bed beside you, running my hand over your scalp.
You look naked without your long blonde hair.
What can I do? What can I do?
I get up and make you soup.
I run the water for your children’s’ bath.
(P.S. Lisa survived and her fifth year checkup turned out fine!)