“I’m Your Little Speedbag” by Shelby Wilson

A poet friend once told
me that Inspiration sometimes
interrupts her in the shower,
provoking a panicked, lathered,
toweled sprint to a notepad
to record her next masterpiece.
How rude of Inspiration, I thought,
before realizing my envy.

Inspiration strikes me, too,
like a boxer’s taped knuckles
on a speedbag—
I’m the speedbag in
this metaphor.
I rapidly recoil
repeatedly, too dizzy to
know what is happening.
My thoughts ricochet,
transfigure each time
my tormentor’s knuckles hit.

Nothing ever comes of these sparring sessions.

Instead, I plod noisily, though
unaware of my footsteps, crouching,
waiting outside Inspiration’s door.

I end up with a sore
jaw and pounding head.

Even now,
each word I squeak out
is uninspired,
heavily wrought, but written,



Shelby Wilson is a high school AP English teacher from Amarillo, Texas. He holds a BA in English from Texas A&M University and an MA in English from West Texas A&M University.  His work has appeared in Ink & Nebula and Madness Muse Press.

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