I’ve pulled six books
from my shelves in hopes
that one would yield a poem.
A Concise Encyclopedia, Pauline Brown’s Guide to Beginning Patchwork, a small bound edition of the U.S. Constitution, Seamus Heaney’s translation of “Beowulf,” Peter Irons’ Jim Crow’s Children—a discussion of the Brown decision, and a New Living Translation of the Holy Bible.
Surely in these poems and proverbs, these
facts and fabrics, these laws and their
verdicts, there is a short verse worth my ink.
And when I find it, I will be sure
to send it your way. A little lateral
literacy to enlighten your lives.
And if it bends the eye the way my
grandfather once claimed I could bend the ear
then my poem will not be an end in itself
but a beginning and a beginning and a beginning.