Tell me what you think, he said, eyes eager,
expectant, testing friendship and risking self.

He took two folded slips of paper from his wallet
and handed them to me. Two scrawled poems,
short, unidentified

I like them, they’re very nice, I said,
not knowing how to respond,
then paused, reading again the papers in my hand.

One spoke in workmanlike words and rythms,
held my attention.
The other, weak, not fully formed, did not.

I like this one better, I said.
His reply, a bit petulant, revealed hurt,
You could have gone all day without saying that.

I guessed wrong.

— Koppantó


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