What a Poem Wants

Not photosynthesis
but some such science
breaks the diurnal flower’s
sleep seal
when the morning sun
crests the horizon
and warms
the petals
of the hoarded poem
each flange
of font
each curve
of letter language
Here is my life
unfurled. I cling to my words’
brief blossom
a lifeboat
an answer.


Response to Mary Oliver’s “Flare” from The Leaf and the Cloud: A Poem
(Da Capo Press, 2000)

The poem is not the world.
It isn’t even the first page of the world.

But the poem wants to flower, like a flower.
It knows that much.

It wants to open itself,
like the door of a little temple,
so that you might step inside and be cooled and refreshed,
and less yourself than part of everything.

—Mary Oliver

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