25 July 2010

C. D. Wright

Every year the poem I most want to write, the poem that would in effect allow me to stop writing, changes shapes, changes directions. It refuses to come forward, to stand still while I move to meet it, embrace and coax it to sit on the porch with me and watch the lightning bugs steal behind the fog’s heavy veil, listen for the drag of johnboats through the orchestra of locusts and frogs. An old handplow supports the mailbox, a split-rail fence borders the front lot. Hollyhocks and sunflowers loom there. At the end of the lot the road forks off to the left toward the river, to the right toward the old chicken slaughterhouse. The poem hangs back, wraithlike, yet impenetrable as briar. The porch is more impressive than the rest of the house. A moth as big as a girl’s hand spreads itself out on the screendoor. The house smells like beets. For in this poem it is always Arkansas, summer, evening. But in truth, the poem never sleeps unless I do, for if I were to come upon it sleeping, I would net it. And that would be that, my splendid catch.

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