I compose now, when I compose,
at a keyboard, but I remember this –
pen in hand, writing the cursive loops
and lines the nuns taught me, fought
me to use so many years ago.
One end points upward, outward at
some point just beside infinity, while
the other unwinds its blue line down
the empty page.
It’s a pen after all, not a brush, nor a
hammer, nor a gun, for that matter,
and so in its own way it’s harmless,
makes nothing happen, but this, this
temporary smudge, this, this poem
I’m writing by hand.
How many years was this the all of it,
the way it went, but handwriting seems
so private now, impermanence waiting
to dissolve or transform into type on
the screen, or on the print-out page.
It’s an age since I tried to capture
the features of a poem like this,
the strum and straddle, the plum and
paddle of it, and its punctuated pride.
I haven’t drifted down the river of
a page, like this, like this in years –
my line in the water, the sun beating
down, and those mystery fish moving,
waiting just below the surface,
the surface of my words.