I Don’t Know
White and purple, our lilacs are in bloom. I don’t know how they hang on in a wind like today’s. This morning my student asked how poems begin. It was pouring at the time, the rain battering panes and roof. I stopped being a teacher and tried to tell the truth, but around the soft core each corner curled up like a lie. I don’t know how my brain lights up to let me see, hear, and call memories to a “mind.” Tonight I’ve latched onto Szymborska, who must have started each day recalling the war and the Russians and then smoking until the migraine passed. I begin with a voice or some music, a lithe shape fused by desire or fear. With me, mostly desire. Once, I heard a band fill an Irish hall with waves of old tunes until a girl in jeans and sneakers leapt from a chair and clogged across the floor like she— bright cheeks, hair a flame— was wired to the sky.