In our column Poetry Rx, readers write in with a specific emotion, and our resident poets—Sarah Kay, Kaveh Akbar, and Claire Schwartz—take turns prescribing the perfect poems to match. This week, Sarah Kay is on the line.
I am in the happiest, healthiest relationship of my life, which is still going strong despite a period of long distance. My boyfriend is currently searching for a job, his first “adult” job since graduating, but seems to be falling at the last hurdles each time. He is usually a very upbeat and optimistic person, but rejection and his current job in the hospitality industry are having an effect on him that is hard to watch for someone who loves him. I am doing my best to reassure him that “the right opportunity will come along” and “you’re doing all the right things,” but this feels very easy to say without knowing what he’s going through. I have so much faith in him; he’s intelligent and passionate. I’m struggling to know how to help. Everything I say sounds clichéd or false, so until I can work out how to put my feelings into pragmatic advice, I’m hoping there’s a poem that might give him some hope for the future, and make him see himself the way I do.
An Optimist for Two