The Reader is the Part of the Poem the Poet Cannot Write

Kim Ellington Jug–View One

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.

Sometimes she

Dreams them,

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

Other forms,

Other faces

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.

“Remember! Remember!”

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.

Kim Ellington Jug–View Two
Copyright 2012

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