Letters to an Old Poet
Hundreds of perfect crystal vases
stand empty, overlapping, wavering
demanding to be filled.  Trapped
between so many layers of dream
and waking, I sit up, reach
for my feet to stretch and wonder
was I supposed to find the flowers?
How many vases were mine to fill?

This has never happened before.  You
have marked me, have folded back
my page in the book, have taken my hand
in your small sure grasp, nodded
yes child, you must follow.  Bent, changed
forever, I can not find my place
in my own life.  If I am to follow, please
tell me: is this how it is to be?

Do you wake from mirrored halls
to blank pages, concede sleep in the name
of the word?  I have been afraid
to say the word poet.  It demands
a depth of seeing, a softness of foot,
a surety of shadow and light I 
am not ready to claim.  Is this
how it is to be, then?  Am I 
to live creased by your hand?

Again I jump in darkness.  I have been
running; my legs cry out, begging
to be longer.  Searching beyond sleep:
what have I forgotten?  What have I left
undone?  Waiting, stretching through darkness
and dream.  Too many mirrors.  I needed
only to flower the small crystal
vase at the center to fill them all.  

1 May 2001