Hi, everybody. Thanks for coming out tonight. Wasn’t that last poem great? It was so emotional. So real. It was nice having the background about his mom being sick when he wrote it—and Chad, I’m sorry for your hardship—so that we knew the whole dryad returning to the dusty seeds of earth thing was supposed to be a sad metaphor. And let’s be sure not to forget our wonderful MC tonight: Sarah, stand up and take a bow. Amazing. She’s in the bathroom? There was just a ten-minute break and she was in here the whole time. Well, anyway, if you can hear me in there, Sarah, take a bow. And let’s make sure to thank the bartender. He’s had a long night on his feet but at least he got to listen to all of the great readers. Oh, and I’ve tipped him extra to not dig through the ice bin while I’m up here so maybe order beer.
Okay. So what I’m going to be reading tonight is a thing that I’ve been working on my whole life, in a way, and it’s for all of you, of course, but it’s really just for one special person. She’s perfect, and I wrote this for her and only, she’s not quite here yet, but I bet you she’s going to come through those doors at the back any second now, and when she does I’ll hopefully have started reading at that exact same moment, like it was fate, like it was impossible for her to have missed this. Maybe I should just start going, right? Start with the first word of my story and in she’ll come, that long black hair tangled around her small, sweaty face, apology in her eyes, wearing that dress I like with the sash and the sneakers that she keeps in her bag in case she decides to go for a run, holding her heels in her hand. Let’s do it.

Time—

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