Thursday, April 23, 2020

How to Grow a Poem

I planted a period.

Torn up paper in the recycling bin
made a nice mulch of used words.

It was only a day or two
before a tiny eroteme
poked its querulous head up.

The light of a desk lamp,
a few dribbles of tea,
and it exclaimed itself upright,
punctuating the air.

I spread out a trellis of handwriting paper,
one-inch rule, dotted midline,
plenty of space for ascenders and descenders,
and watched as tiny serifs sprouted,
hooking and grasping.

Loops pulled into letters, drawing
themselves into words, blossoming
into phrases fed by roots that delve now
all the way into the bookcase,
drinking from the nectar that arises
when words are immersed in each other.

Come harvest time, the sharp point
of my pen will snip the ripe pods,
slice and spread and slather them
into a feast of lines and stanzas,
an abundance of language that all began
with only the simple dot of an ending,
just like this one.

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