Poetry Month Day 17: Faking It

Here’s another poem I’ve brought out from the dusty corners. I remember when I wrote this, and everything about this writing hummed along until I got. To. One. Line. I worked and reworked and reworked, and put the whole darn thing away because I couldn’t get the right word.

I STILL don’t have the exact right word for that line. Bonus points if you can figure out which one I struggled with.

Who knows? Some day, that right word will come to me and I might, just might, come back and make one last edit to this poem. But until then, as they say, I shall “bless and release.”

In the meantime, it’s also hit me that I started this poem in pre-COVID times. I think it reads differently in today’s context. That’s okay with me too.


Just like the kosher lady
who sneaks pancakes with bacon
I awake into action
Cheerfully rouse the troops
Serve a nutritionally-balanced breakfast
Drop the kids off with a smile
Hi! How are you doing today?
Great! And you?
Just fine.
I greet my colleagues in the same fashion As we
Gather
In important meetings
And sit rapt.
I stop at the store, exchanging
Currency and small talk
Great! And you?
Just fine.

Just fine.
How I want
How I wonder
How I wish

The feeling of
Shrugging off appearance
Sloughing away
Thick skin
Broad shoulders
Heavy heart
A shedding of pretense
Leaving me
At the intersection
Of intent and reality.

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2 Responses to “Poetry Month Day 17: Faking It”

  1. Raivenne Says:

    What a difference a year makes. Those meetings are just as rapt, yet very different from before. I’m a few weeks from going back to the office full time, but I know those meetings will not be as they were. And we will greet people, we will say that things are “Just fine” because it is expected. Because no one wants to see behind the facade. No one wants to admit it’s not just fine. And the shrugged shoulders is not from nonchalance, but from bearing the weight of the unspoken.

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      Exactly! What’s strange is that I’m starting to see more people become honest about how they REALLY are, or at least more willing to admit there’s a difference between “fine” and “covid fine.” Still, we have a long way to go towards deprogramming ourselves out of our carry-the-world-and-do-it-with-a-smile mentality…

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