By Michael Stalcup
after Chris Rice
It was the very last lines
of “Our Best Minds”
that compelled me to risk:
return prodigal pen to poetry.
“Where are you now?” he wrote.
You with the great art in you, where are you?
“Withering unknown on your dying bed
because you were afraid to risk?”
Well, that great person is not me, but
I wondered what could be if
I spilled a little more ink and
learned to live with the mess.
My pen could free a line
another soul as shy, but great.
I need never know.
I need only create.
Michael Stalcup is a Thai American missionary living in Bangkok, Thailand. His poems have been published in Commonweal Magazine, Ekstasis Magazine, First Things, Presence, Sojourners Magazine, and elsewhere. He co-teaches Spirit & Scribe, a workshop helping writers to integrate spiritual formation and writing craft. You can find more of his work at michaelstalcup.com.
'Lines Last' first appeared in Cultivating. It has been republished here with the author's permission.
Michael's other work on Foreshadow:
Covenant Prayer (Poetry, September 2022)
Sometimes Mercy (Poetry, September 2022)
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