I unfold poems to shed
their methods, scan for smallish
flaws. Bared, many seem married
or smell of sex, flirty
without disrobing. They speak
of merles or plumes, Holsteins
or fishnet stockings, how to handle
snakes or tame bears. More
experimental than experiential.
But why compare the space needed
greedily, to peek at defects,
to react to my own ripostes.
The gorgeous ones, I unfurl with envy.
Olds’ letting sparks fly as she strikes
her tiny parents’ genitalia together.
Rothke’s spotting the sadness of pencils.
I didn’t want it to rain tonight,
to drive to unknown parts in the dark.
Learning is at such odds with teaching.
Will I ever stop competing?