January 29, 2008

What I Love About Fiction

Turning each page, how fast
they pile up in your left hand,
how your progress is marked
by a bookmark’s steady march
through leaves.
through leaves. And poetry, the opposite:
how slowly you move from poem
to poem, how long it takes
to read one slender volume,
how each night you turn only one
or two pages, carefully,
and then sleep,
like learning to love a skinny
and complicated girl.

—Amy Watkins

Posted by dwaber at 01:03 PM

January 27, 2008

When I Am Asked

     When I am asked
     how I began writing poems,
     I talk about the indifference of nature.—Lisel Mueller

When I am asked
how I began writing poems,
I talk about my father’s bruised
thumbnail, how my father, grandfather
and uncles, carpenters all,
stride the bare trusses of my childhood
in cracked work boots, each
with one ridged fingernail turning
purple then black then yellow forever.
They are building our home again
out of things that can hurt them—
concrete blocks and rough wood
and nails longer than my fingers.

My mother collects all the dropped
nails and shingles, singing hymns
and John Denver songs.

—Amy Watkins

Posted by dwaber at 02:21 PM