Marilyn Kallet

Soft Song
December 21, 2019 Kallet Marilyn

Soft Song


Nothing about you is soft,
When people thank you for
your service
I wonder if
I am serviceable.
But this is a soft
song, a petal-wreath
that crowns you for being
funny, wise,
and yes,
tightly wired
with respect to
Thank you for
humoring me
with songs.
With respect, sir,
words are all we offer.
As a young poet wrote,
“Let’s be grateful
for what we can have.”
1996, I shredded
that letter
with my teeth.

Marilyn Kallet is Knoxville Poet Laureate, and has published 18 books, including How Our Bodies Learned, The Love That Moves Me, and Packing Light: New and Selected Poems, Black Widow Press. She has translated Paul Eluard’s Last Love Poems and Benjamin Péret’s The Big Game. Dr. Kallet is Professor Emerita at the University of Tennessee. She leads a writing residency for the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, in Auvillar, France. She has performed her poems across the United States as well as in France and Poland, as a guest of the U.S. Embassy’s “America Presents” program. Her poetry appeared recently in New Letters and is forthcoming in North American Review’s “Open Space,” and in New Voices, an anthology of contemporary voices on antisemitism.