Poem-A-Day 2019: Robin Reagler

In my professional life, I’ve had very few bosses or supervisors who were women, and all of them have been excellent. One of my first female bosses, when I was a writer-in-residence through Writers in the Schools here in Houston back in the 1990s, was Robin Reagler. She modeled for me the best qualities of a leader as someone who guided with good cheer and friendliness on the best days and genuine compassion and humor when I made mistakes. She inspired me to work my best, and when an outstanding professional opportunity came along and I had to leave WITS, she understood and helped make my transition as smooth and seamless as it could be. Robin was someone I knew I would want to emulate when it became my turn to hold a position of authority.

I’ve worked for bosses who gave me nightmares with their ego-driven nonsense and anger management problems. I’ve worked for ones who were a hot mess of disorganization or self-unawareness. I’ve worked for people who didn’t command a shred of respect.

Robin was the antidote to all of that. She’s also a marvelous poet, and I love that she contributes to this series on my blog. Her poem “Crumbs” appears in the Mutabilis Press anthology The Enchantment of the Ordinary, and when I heard her read it at the launch, I knew we needed it for April this year.

 

Crumbs
.
If you transpose this one afternoon
into the open Galveston then
it’s no surprise that future
love begins its slow rumble
.
like a wave. That’s why the seagulls
go wild over a handful of crumbs
hurled high into the air, and a sweet
January breeze takes its time
.
creating a crest of meaning
like a celebrity signature in the sand.
My daughters build tremendous
sand castles protected by moats
.
in concentric circles, a symbolic
safety. Once I understood a lot more
than I do now, before the awesome
tore its way into my heart.
.
***
.
Robin Reagler is the author of TEETH & TEETH, winner of the Charlotte Mew Prize selected by Natalie Diaz (Headmistress Press, 2018), and DEAR RED AIRPLANE (Seven Kitchens Press, 2011, 2018), chosen for the ReBound Series and re-issued with a foreword by Laura Mullen. Reagler’s poems have been published in dozens of journals, including Ploughshares, American Letters & Commentary, Pleiades, VOLT, Iowa Review, and Colorado Review. She lives in Houston, Texas, and serves as the Executive Director of Writers in the Schools (WITS). She was recently elected chair of the AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs) Board of Trustees.

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