IT’S NOT EASY SQUEEZING OUT A POEM

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IT’S NOT EASY SQUEEZING OUT A POEM
We were in a pinch
in need of some sentimental verse
for Mothers’ Day when
my wife said, “Come on, you can just bat out a poem!”
as in
the blink of an eye
as in
drinking down a glass of cool water
as in
slowly falling into a nap
She meant it as a show of confidence
in my skills
and efficiency
But I couldn’t help but wince
look down and
politely decline,
wanting to explain,
“No, Mamacita, it’s more like
chiseling ever so slowly away
at a slab of rock
until you can finally see
The Boy With a Dolphin,
or something far less graceful
And bleeding a little along the way
from those moments when art makes contact
when art opens a wound

Or like capturing the clever spark in the eyes
and every line and shadow
on the old man’s face
as he tries to smile for his portrait

Or even like making with all the best intentions
and carrying for months
and then expelling with
indescribable pain
a reluctant baby from the womb.”

5-12-19

Tukwila, Washington

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