Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: The Pain Sweepstakes

Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate

Anyone can win the Pain Sweepstakes. As Mekeel McBride of Kittery implies in today?s poem, everybody does.

The Pain Sweepstakes by Mekeel McBride

is open to all, regardless of age,
opportunity, or interest. Takes no
effort to enroll. When you win, you
win big and we aren?t just bragging. Imagine
your cat, flat as a cartoon in the aftermath
of a foreign car; discover your favorite
child feeding on the fine caviar
of barbiturates; find your spouse in bed
with a young student of Russian literature
whose pink cheeks shine like the Ukranian
dawn. If all else fails we can crack your father?s 
heart like a walnut left over from last 
Christmas, then hook him up to the white heaven
of intensive care. We care about you. 
For once, we want you to win.
And the really startling part is how easy
this all is. Keep your hopes high. We draw
your number every time you sigh at the sad
shape this world is in.

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 1995 Mekeel McBride. Reprinted from Wind of the White Dresses, Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1995, by permission of Mekeel McBride. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, Special Consultant to the Maine Poet Laureate, at mainepoetlaureate@gmail.com or 207-228-8263. Take Heart: Poems from Maine, an anthology collecting the first two years of this column, is now available from Down East Books.