My Happy Poem By Schuyler Peck

My Happy Poem

You ask me why I write sad poems.
You tell me I make you uncomfortable,
that there’s better things to write about.
But never once, have you thanked me
for having the balls to be brave.

I have read so many books and poems and essays
on places I will never receive boarding passes to,
people I will never photograph—
what the sunsets look like in Nepal
and what it’s like to make love in a car with enough backseat space
while the roof absorbs every drop of rain
like a meteor shower.
We would tell ourselves this is a five-star treatment.

I have enough Dr. Seuss imagination to trick myself into thinking
I’ve lived enough to be happy,
but good poems only come from experience.

I have tried
to write myself happy.

I have written 86 love poems and I think
that is the closest my pens will ever come to smiling.
All I have lying on my backbone are white walls,
hospital gowns, the fights downstairs,
the family secrets we swept out by the back porch
and the years we spent choking on the dust when the breeze blew it back.

I have seen sunsets so passionately red,
I thought Jesus’s hands might still be bleeding as he finger-painted our sky.
I have seen happy.
But at eleven o’clock, channel 4 won’t name every baby born,
every 2nd grader that got an A plus,
or congratulate every person standing at the windowsill
for putting both feet back on the floor.

The trick is I know there’s a lot more to come,
and I intend to write about the great big happy
once it comes.
But until that is real enough
for me to write about,
I can only take what I know.

By Schuyler Peck


Born of college-ruled notebooks and the smell of lemon grass, Schuyler Peck was raised in New Jersey, but she’ll never tell you that. Instead, she’ll tell you there are pieces of her everywhere; planted in trees and shipped off to the moon. Her poetry, however, can be found in her book, A Field of Blooming Bruises, Words Dance Publications, Literary Sexts V. 2, Rising Phoenix Review, JuxtaProse Magazine, and

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