Sarah Morgan

Healthcare Geek.
Professional Communicator.


Poetry Around the Corner

BJ Ward is an English professor at my county’s community college. I’ve driven by it hundreds of times, a low wide building along a straight county road of cornfields and churches, a road that always reminds me of two small girls in the backseat of my car waiting patiently to eventually ask, “How long IS this road, anyway?” on the way to what would, a decade later, become my home.

I’ve been inside the college, to chat with a law-enforcement officer doing great things to help kids and parents about internet privacy. We swapped a USB drive between laptops balanced on laps as we sat in the standard-issue This End Up furniture inherent to all college common areas with its impregnable square wood frames.

All of which to say, Warren County Community College is very nice, but generally unremarkable. But BJ Ward, I discover, is a poet. And, as it happens, a remarkable one. This throws me off completely. And the fact that it throws me off, throws me off. Why on earth shouldn’t an amazing poet live in my sleepy, rural, rolling corner of the world?

There’s no reason, of course. I like it here. Many other people do. This one is a poet. I’m sure there are others. Murderers, prize-winners, writers, singers, undertakers, stonemasons, garbage men, visionaries. Here we all are. And here he is. And he’s a good reminder. First, that poetry – wonderful poetry – is more places than you think. And second, that you might want to stop underestimating the people at the gas station and the grocery store. They’re probably just as remarkable.

Here’s one of his poems, called “Cuckoldom“:

Such conundrums
of English. I blame
my ex-wife. She
rearranged my
dictionary, or re-
taught an old story:
in this book,
if you look
for alimony,
it follows
acrimony (nothing
between). However,
contrition still
borders contrivance
(if it can be seen).
Untruth in her
troth sallowed
the language, sullied
a certain conjugation:
how she lied
as she lay with me.
Apparently her
monogamy was too
close to monotony.

Alas, after parting
with that particular
lass, I remain
a student
examining all
our words’
how anniversary
now precedes


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