The deadlines I respond to are never and now.
Our daughter loves to knock down block castles I stack.
I compose my life around her impish fits,
Usually performed deliberately and with glee.
She is the exultant princess of entropy.
It's half her fault that I've been writing poems faster
Than I read them. Writing destroys poems; only slow
And analytical, loving reading builds them.
Everyone who wants to write first without reading
Senses this, as our daughter senses destruction
Is a power more vested in her than creation.
Is it really getting to where I prefer poems
To fiction, science, science fiction? I resent
Myself for behaving like everyone I've met
On a plane, in a bar, as a dinner guest, who
Told me, shyly, proudly, "I write poetry, too,"
But could barely itemize a single poet.
The stuff feels absurdly precious to me these days,
Every reading of someone else's lines needing
My attention and happy patience, as with blocks
I carefully arrange into odd towers and castles
For a toddler to destroy. I think of my dad,
So good at building things. I think of the lost lines
I memorized and now know only as forgot.
I kick another pile into a scattered mess:
Everything true is too counterintuitive
Or everything true would have been easily guessed.