Poet Jane Hirshfield said "... the feeling I have about poem-writing (is) that it is always an exploration, of discovering something I didn't already know.  Who I am shifts from moment to moment, year to year.  What I can perceive does as well.  A new poem peers into mystery, into whatever lies just beyond the edge of knowable ground."

I bring a different poem to the writing classes each week, not only to inspire but to introduce new poets to the group members.

Early For The Fire by Mallory Tater

Centennial Beach, unclean and busy,		
the merry-go-round at the park in pieces
to spare the young from chipped teeth.
Every June our family gathers at a pit to roast	
hot dogs until sunset, until nausea.
My cousin Jacob and I are picked to wait, 	
secure a perfect spot.  Our nana places
pink donuts on our laps, rubs lotion
on my face, the scented kind from hotels, 
then sits on the hood of her car, the sleeves
of her custard sweater rolled around her elbows.
We wait for our aunts and uncles, stuck	
in rush hour, who must let their babies nap,
change from housecoats or suits into denim.
Jacob and I don’t feel the tension, simply	
ingest the sugar of family, the salt of family,
the processed meat of family.  Jacob, a teenager
with a beautiful girlfriend, climbs the alder tree
above us.  I time him then call for him.  I love
and fear him the higher he gets.  At the top he says,
watch me break my collarbone.  His mother,
broken, caught in traffic, will say nothing, will love
to take her son to emergency, add this to a list
of reasons why the world cannot be on her side.
I tell Jacob if he jumps his girlfriend will cry
And I’m surprised that this is enough.  I feel
the high school love in him from below,
catch in the breeze, trace his throat.
Later, I fall asleep on the picnic table,	
my head sugared with fear, imagining
he did jump and what that would mean.

~ from This Will Be Good (Book Thug, 2018)

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