I want to thank you
First reader
In the summer
Of '69
From a pile
Of unsolicited stories
At The New Yorker
You pulled out mine.
You were probably
A recent graduate
Of Smith
Or Bryn Mawr
But in my life
What an angel
What an angel
You are.
You sent my story
To the editor
Roger Angell
And said, "Read it"
And your help
My darling
Was exactly
What I needed.
Tens of thousands
Of good writers
Stories flowing
In a tide
And the importance
Of angels
Simply cannot
Be denied
I imagine you
In a long skirt
Black pumps
A sweater set
A tiny office
Piles of papers
Curls of smoke from
Your cigarette
Almost forty
Years have passed
Since you read me
And smiled
But to me
It's happening now
I am waiting
In the pile.
If you choose me
I'll be singing
On the stage
Of Town Hall
If you don't
I'm on the sidewalk
With my back
Against the wall.
A pint of bourbon In a sack
In the pocket
Of my coat
And my head
Is full of sorrow
And the stuff
I never wrote.
Tender angel
Touch my hand
Let me see
Your smiling face
Every moment
Of my life
Is illumined by
Your grace
An angel
Hornrim glasses
Long brown hair
A velvet band
In an office
In Manhattan
With a pencil
In her hand
Everything I write
My dear
I lay it
At your feet
My angel
On west
43rd Street.