Friday, June 18, 2021

The Poet at Minimum Wage

I meet with a close inner circle of words,
a caucus of syllables.
We decide that the poet must embrace moments
that never gain promotion.
He must always work for minimum wage.

There is the phone call
informing him that someone has died.
He remembers a fly
buzzing grief through the wire.
He recalls rain sliding down the window,
the leafless tree in the side yard.

He makes love
and awakens several hours later,
remembering that the umbrella
is still open in the downstairs hall.
He thinks of a day years before
when he passed an old woman on a porch,
and her bones seemed to be made of papier-mache.

Moments of no consequence.
Once, a breeze stirred branches
that scratched the house and woke the cat.
There was a night when a cloud split in two
just as it passed the moon.

There is no greater moment
than the second hand on a watch
waiting for the next tick.
That is when the spider contemplates
spinning its web.
That is when the poet,
his eye trained on a falcon
hanging at apogee,
envisions his next poem.

~William Hammett

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