I have forgotten
how to fold and unfold
myself into a word.
I have forgotten how
to hug the curves of life
like a red silk dress
draped over a mannequin.
I have forgotten
how to be a poet.

I’d like to blame
my last lover —
the one who called himself
poet-philosopher,
who wore creased pink shirts
and jeans with cowboy boots,
his Alabama drawl spinning
desire into sonnets,
as his hands meandered my body.

I’d like to say he stole my words,
wrapped them in parchment paper,
like his lavender chocolate,
his poetry books,
his dead peonies.
How well he understood
the beauty of betrayal.

No, my words have simply fallen
from my lips, scattered red
and gold upon the sidewalk,
crusted underfoot. And I,
a rake without teeth.

Sometimes, when I can’t hear
reasons not to be lonely,
or I’m lost in a cave
of memory, I forget
I am more than the sum
of my yesterdays,
more than a solitary wave
too small to climb the beach,

I remember the truest poetry
I offer is the lifeness of my life,
the things that are not poetry:
the bamboo toothbrush
I place in a pink glass,
the turquoise mug that holds,
my morning cup of tea,
the Jan Austen notepad next to my bed,
with a lead pencil, the kind
where you push on one end
and the lead comes out the other,
as if by magic,
as if I’d never ever run out.

In pursuit of magic