Catch and Release

This poet pinned

behind his ’63 Smith Corona

at the art fair; he tilts his hat and waits for you

To come, to ask him to free this poem

not yet written, the one now held hostage

inchoate in the fractal web of ether-

He’ll lure it onto the page with whispers and worn

keys clacking, zing, and

you’ll pay the ransom, let it loose in the world where it isn’t

yet, it will go with you, has been caught

in the net of your dreams now- but

as for him, he stays and

watches the sky and

waits patiently for the inevitable

return of the endless flock of words,

migrating north again in long vees,


He calls them in one by one, they

surround his head in a cloud of invisible bees, they

clamber up out of the hives but he tamps them

down – not unkindly – while he waits

For others to come by with coins

or teas or stories to trade –

He finally frees them one by one, now strung together like

Spun glass beads around a lonely neck – juniper,

echo, conduit, fairy tale, copper, trolley,

mitochondria, ginger,

melancholy, amber


That have come to us

As if by some prior arrangement, have leapt over

some wrinkled fold in the universe, have caught

a wandering ride on a draft from some butterfly

wing’s from the time before, were called

in for dinner as dusk deepened and settled

in the long grass,

landing among us

like truth

like fireflies,

carrying darkness,

carrying light.

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