Steve Henn

On a Day I’m Wondering What the Hell is the Point Anyway?

My mom’s been paying a lady
to help with laundry and dishes and cleaning
the bathroom ever since I got
divorced, even after my ex-wife died.
I might as well make all the confessions.
I pick at my fingernails incessantly,
rarely use a trimmer. I drink sometimes
76 ounces of Coke in one day.
It’s probably too easy to teach adequately;
I’d rather not make the effort
to be all-world about it. Thirteen years
left, coasting toward retirement like
a twelve year old on a longboard.
Some of these days, the whole day is
bitter. God knows how debilitating
morale will be by then.
I hear the young teacher across the hall,
my former student, newly married,
turning cynical. He sounds like me.
Please God, don’t let him ever
get divorced. Bless him, grant him
the Grace of satisfaction in his work.
Just a few years ago he sat in the front
row, would call out “Hey Henn,”
and ask what I thought about anything.
Please Lord, give him and his wife,
who teaches in the EL Department,
beautiful, beautiful, beautiful babies,
give them astonishingly beautiful children,
to whom no harm will ever come.


Steve Henn wrote American Male & Guilty Prayer (Main Street Rag 2022 & 2021), Indiana Noble Sad Man of the Year (Wolfson 2017), and two previous collections from NYQ Books. Check out