Honorable Mentions

Nancy Koan
Work is a Four Letter Word

Work is only a four letter word when you can’t get any,
Sitting at home in front of television shows that should be forgotten,
And dodging calls from people you can not pay.

Work is only a four letter word when you read about the bonuses
While secretly praying the lights, and heat and phone stay on
And the fridge isn’t empty by the time the kids come home from school.

But at night, long after the day closes, you recall, with pride
The nail you drove into the house that Jack built,
The letter you typed so beautifully,
The road dug up
The dresses sewn,
The children taught,
The burger flipped,
The taxi driven,
The hair styled,
The painting finished.

It is the work that keeps us alive when the doctor says to retire,
The work that shortens the path from dreams today,
And shows us who we were, who we are, and who we can be.

Like love, work is a four letter word.
It is easy to spell, and impossible to live without.



About Nancy...

Nancy is an artist, filmmaker, and writer who, as her poem suggests, has a complicated relationship with work. As a working artist, Nancy has held numerous jobs unrelated to her art to support herself and make her art possible. She acknowledges the importance of community and sense of belonging that often accompany a traditional job, while relishing the independence and self-direction inherent to her creative work. She is a Manhattan resident who will one day own a poodle.

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