DO NOT DISTURB A POEM
It’s not polite to interrupt a poem.
Let her go through the ritual of becoming
before you put her to the blade:
the washing of her face in mysteries,
the plucking of adjectives from her arched brows,
the soaking in a lavender bath of images
until her layers of skin wrinkles with words,
and adorning those long braided sentences
snaking from her lovely head with colorful beads.
When she puts on her reading glasses
and cotton jacket lined with similes,
do not offer a goodbye. Ask where she’s going
or how long it will take. Peel potatoes and dice an onion.
She may take a long stroll across the shelves
to visit Mary, Elizabeth, or Emily.
Leave her warm seat alone;
you can gather the crumbs of her thoughts later.
Do not touch that basket of verbs next to her pen.
Poem’s been eating from it all morning.
Finish cooking the soup if she falls prey to a nap
and dream of dipping her foot in Cinderella’s abandoned shoe.
It will not fit; that slipper is too narrow for her thinking.
Poem would not run from love, power, time or magic.
She would stand in the middle of the palace
and allow midnight to chime in her
soiled clothes, rough hands, and combat boots.
She would ask the prince to dance.
If he refused, she would walk away
leaving him with a withered pumpkin, hungry mice
and her name waltzing about his arrogant heels.
- Loretta Diane Walker
Published in Illya's Honey and forthcoming in In This House