When he first looked at Open Burning, my brother asked me, “What’s your favorite poem?”
I lied. I told him I didn’t have a favorite poem in the book.
For the most part, I don’t lie. When I do, it’s usually to protect a little bit about myself I’d rather not share at the moment.
For one, I wasn’t ready for the follow up question. “Why is this your favorite poem?”
For two, the poem has the word cock in it. And my brother, not that he would clutch his pearls, probably wasn’t ready for that as we were standing around in his kitchen with his family.
It’s an odd little poem. About how it feels being around someone everyday, and when they are gone, but not gone gone, maybe on a trip, you don’t really know what to do with yourself. Though, you know, something must be done, if only to prove that you did something and not nothing. Which is really dumb. And really human.
I think I like this poem because it surprised me when writing it all the way up to the last line. I’m still not sure how I made the leap from a person creating a zoo of origami animals to imagining the neck of the person as symbol of longing and absurdity, a swan’s neck. These types of leaps are hard for me.
So maybe I see potential here too. Potential for me to grow as a person and poet.