The reader is the part of the poem the poet cannot write.
The poet chooses the words and places and replaces them,
hides them in the basement,
slides them between photographs in the attic,
brings them out for an
The poet finds sequences of words—
She feels she has discovered them, as if they were
Already made and waiting to be found.
Hears them over cocktails.
While working into the silence of
Leaves intersecting with breeze,
She gets chilled by the fabric of memory
and presses her nails
into the soft wood
between the grains
on the armrest
of the Adirondack chair.
She sings gently to herself:
“Trying to see Truth is like trying to see
You only know it’s there by the branches that
Maybe he (this poet) crafts them (these words),
Works them, throws them on the
Kick-wheel and turns them into
Ancient shapes. Maybe
At the end of the day
With some left over clay,
He attaches a face to his effort.
He wonders what colors this one will take when placed with
In the transfiguration of the kiln.
And the things he thinks when he drives!
Sometimes fearing loss he struggles to keep the words whole before they slip away.
He has shouted lines three times in his car on
The highway (I-40, I-85, I-95, I-26, I-90, I-20, I-81, I-64, I-75)
Late at night or early on just
To try to hold fast
To them before they fly out the back windshield or
Wedge between the seats indistinguishable from the Trident wrappers, cinnamon
Ones, still somehow sugar dusty on the paper.
All this is hard enough.
Now know that the reader is the part of the poem the poet cannot write.
The poem is not complete,
not fully possessed by its glaze,
not made into stone,
until the reader arrives
to be loaded
and to transfigure, for
The reader is the kiln for the poem.
And the reader is the part of the poem the poet cannot write.