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CELEBRATING CREATIVE EXPRESSION AT BAYLOR SINCE 1966

Periaktoi Writing Post

Volume 50
Issue 2

Single Visual Art Post

  • Poetry
The Obligation to Be Early
Kari Watson
The Obligation to Be Early

Photo by Caroline Casteel

It is more strenuous

than trudging through tar

or quicksand, harder than making an A in English.

But you demand it of me daily,

the way you demand coffee

in the morning, not in spite of time

or place but due to them.


And so I laugh, as if my own faithfulness

to tardiness were a secret sin—

that downward tug on time,

my old intuition that beauty

and grades are momentary trifles,

no more than hitting snooze

each morning.


Earliness. I try to drag myself

out of bed again—

the covers threaded with warm dreams.

I scurry around my bedroom,

trip on shoes.

Only I would say:

It's better to arrive late than to arrive ugly.

Work Consulted

Pastan, Linda. "The Obligation to Be Happy." Poetry Out Loud. Poetry Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Web. 2 Feb. 2016.