The Title This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   I am not a proud man

only because I have nothing to be proud of

I am not a strong man

but my weakness is not my lack of strength

I am not a loser

even though I've never won anything in my life

I am not a beginner

only because I've never started anything

I am not you

even though being me isn't my first choice



"What's that supposed to mean?" Tom said, putting the sheet of paper on the table, next to his lunch tray. A corner of the paper was on some tomato sauce that had spilled from Tom's pizza.

"I can't just tell you what it's supposed to mean," Daniel said. "That's something you have to figure out on your own."

"Poems are supposed to mean different things to different people," Patty said, reaching across Daniel's body to pick up the stained paper.

"Then what does it mean to you?" Tom asked her.

"Well," she said, "the way I see it, it's about a guy who doesn't know what he is, but he knows exactly what he is not." She looked at Daniel. "Right?"

"There's no right or wrong, Patty," Daniel said. "This isn't exactly the world's greatest poem."

"What's it called, anyway?" Tom asked. "You don't have a title."

"I can't decide," Daniel said. "I can't really make out the tone of the poem and that's usually where I get my titles."

"I think it's got a lot of happiness in it," Patty said.

"No," Daniel said. "this is definitely not a happy poem."

"What do you think, Tom?" Patty said, handing him the poem again.

After reading it again, Tom said, "Who cares. It's no good anyway. No offense, Danny."

"How could I take offense to that?" Daniel said. He took a sip from his milk. "Maybe I'll just leave it untitled. Lots of poets do that."

"That's why I don't like you poets," Tom said. "You're always confusing me. Everything should have a title. Books and movies have titles, so should poems."

"Okay," Daniel said. "so you think of one."

"Hey, you're the poet."

"I think you should call it AAcceptance,'" Patty said.

Daniel looked at her, then at his poem. After a few seconds, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a pen. In big, capital letters, he wrote the words "ACCEPTANCE BY D.T." at the top of the page.

They finished lunch, and by the end of the day no one remembered that the poem had ever been written. 1


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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