My drawing teacher said: Look, think, make a mark.
Look, I told myself.
And waited to be marked.
Clouds are white but they darken
with rain. Even a child blurs them back
to little woolies on a hillside, little
bundles without legs. Look, my teacher
would surely tell me, they’re nothing
like that. Like that: the lie. Like that: the poem.
She said: Respond to the heaviest part
of the figure first. Density is
form. That I keep hearing destiny
is not a mark of character. Like pilgrimage
once morphed to mirage in a noisy room, someone
so earnest at my ear. Then marriage slid.
Mir-aage, Mir-aage, I heard the famous poet let loose
awry into her microphone, triumphant.
The figure to be drawn —
not even half my age. She’s completely
emptied her face for this job of standing still an hour.
Look. Okay. But the little
dream in there, inside the think
that comes next. A pencil in my hand, its secret life
is charcoal, the wood already burnt,