Wednesday, March 05, 2008


I've been taking an online workshop that is helping me get better at revising my poems. I hope these look improved:

Secret Heart (Fourth draft)

She stoops over the sink,
Weeping silent tears,
Swishing towels
Through bleachy suds.

Why should she cry
Rinsing out dish towels?
There is no reason
There is no god-damned rhyme,
The mystery of tears
Dripping salty,
Into disinfectant suds.

She sealed her heart so long ago.
Shutting away secrets too fierce
Too dangerous to know.
Now, she receives faint telegraphs
From that too secret part

Her heart,
Rust-sealed locket
Beneath her shirt,
A secret not even she can open.

The steam from the bucket
This night eased open hinges,
Just enough

For tears,
but not
No not for anything so large as

And so she wonders
Why, and why
She weeps.
The tears squeezed out of love,
as she wrings each towel.


Long Distance (second draft)

In the dim kitchen
She bends and bows,
Rinsing towels

Tears drip from
That stubby nose
He can’t help
But notice

That secret face
Bent low and closed
Invites no inquiries,
Seems too far to reach

As if his
Hand hesitates in
Picking up the phone
To call, to ask

But then
She looks so risky -
A ticking briefcase
Left in his kitchen

Better to call
The bomb squad
And hand off the problem

Than put his own hand
On the latch
And open
An explosion

He tucks his hands
Safely in his
Backs away.

As if his
Hand hesitates,
Lifting the receiver,
But hangs up
Without dialing

He turns away:
Be safe,
Don’t ask.

But, considering,
He pauses...
Could she
Be thinking
Of him?


New Life (second draft)

What an electric thrill!
Tender green tendril
Questing blind
Up from the soil
Of the milk carton.
The shell of the bean
Cracked open at last,
Spilling hidden new
Life, out from its secret

How hallowed –
Beyond holy:
New life push
Into the world:
Chicks fighting their
Way out of shells,
Exhausted, bedraggled,
Look dead afterward.
Blind, questing kittens,
Soft ears drooping, more like
Hamsters than cats.
Horses with hooves so
Soft you can press them still,
All wet from the secret world within.
It is not easy to cross into life!

You did not want to cross into life –
Or perhaps did not know the way.
So they came to get you;
Forced opened the doors!
Slicing across skin and muscles, neatly
Pinning back maternal layers to reach you.
When they dragged you out,
Green meconium creased around your outraged eyes
You cried, fists balled,
Against the light!


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