poem #33

I don’t know how to write this poem.
I need your black felt pen,
the decisive ink
filling the margins of the page,
slashing through words,
urging and egging me on.
I’ve kept every page
you ever marked. I have miles
of your looping handwriting
squished together
like intestines
on the pages. Yes, I know you’d say
that’s a jarring and disgusting image,
and I imagine
you stomping your witchy shoes in protest,
circling the word with your black pen,
mapping a black line to the margins
(I learned this feedback cartography from you),
and soaking the page in black ink commentary.
My word choice is deliberate, meant
to invoke this image of you, at your tin desk,
wearing gauzy animal print skirts and jackets,
tinted, shadowy eyeglasses,
and marking poetry with your black pen because
I don’t know how to write this poem
without you.

In memory of Judith R. Land


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