February 02, 2009

To Teach You Poetry

if I could,

I would hold out my hands to you.
with every poem that has grasped my mind

tattooed along splayed fingers,
painted in polish on the nails.

Williams’ El Hombre etched beneath my ring,
Millay’s Mariposa on the Mount of Venus,

Henley’s Invictus triding up the lifeline
in large red capitals. The names of poets:

William Stafford inscribed across my knuckles,
Billy Collins circling my wristbone,

Robert Frost and Linda Pastan needled deep
into the suicide vein. And if you would

take my extended hands, the lines of ink
would transfuse from my skin to your arteries,

wash the heart in effervescent waves,
seizing and releasing, widening, coloring,

hammering the thick dark muscle wall
in ancient iambic rhythms.

—Carol Clark Williams
previously appeared in Fledgling Rag, Volume 3

Posted by dwaber at February 2, 2009 01:04 PM