2012 National Finalist


I am rushing again in my brown suit,
plain, to deliver the news and treasures
of a week, two weeks ago – unimportant.
Sometimes, if I’m lucky, there will be
a parcel stamped PRIORITY,
and I will know, and feel, at least
in the moment of handling, of standing by the door,
-Oh! There are many varieties of doors, colors,
shapes, patterns… I don’t believe I will ever see them all-
that I am important, that I am worth something
because what I am holding for you is URGENT,
important enough to be stamped so.
I handle everything with care, except my life,
-Oh! I have met so many scars-
for during the moment of receipt, and after
when I slink back under the nothing-white sky,
-White, the color of gone, of pure light
from the source-
and you disappear into your door,
then I am nothing again – completely empty,
and I think now I will always be so.
…Then I remember the doors. So many still
to open for me. Before I face my death, I will have to stand
in front of each one, holding out what I can.
We can only wait. We will see
where time is sending me, my body –
we must have patience; there is not URGENT
or PRIORITY stamped on my skin,
nor sewn into the plain brown suit I wear
that makes me, also, a parcel.


Jacob Oet, age 17
Solon, Ohio

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