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On Writing

for Norma

When I arrived at her door, she called from her chair,
Don’t take off your shoes—

but I did out of habit, sinking
into the couch, bewildered
with half-finished
poems—mostly, she let them walk into the dark
but one time she said, A poem wants life.

I’d stand beneath cottonwood trees, listening
to the wind as it rose through the tops,
the silver-green leaves
quivering, clapping.

Some days I don’t know what it means, I begin
littering the floor
with the old darkness

but when I go out to the fields
here is a mystery, her voice
which has passed through this world
returns in last light,

blackbirds whirl over the cornfields,
even the stubble is golden.

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