Why I Write Today

I come home singing with the last night
and the first morning star
~Natalie Goldberg, from her poem Top of My Lungs


This morning I ask myself why I still write poems and if it's worth the time. But I know that poetry is part of my story. Words inside my lungs, part of the millions of alveoli. I breathe in words, and exhale them in sentences cottoned together as clouds that don't need to be explained. Someone will gaze at the clouds I breathe out and feel enveloped.
Sending out poems to get published is one of the stumbling blocks of my life. Other poets have persistence but I peter out, return to myself and leave the breathing words in my notebook. Finished, unfinished, asleep, poems dreaming of attention.
In 5th grade I wrote a Christmas poem at the behest of our teacher, desperate to make the lines rhyme and be chosen for publication in our 2-page school newspaper. No, I didn't win that one heroic spot of words typed and read aloud in class. It wasn't me. I was left dying for my words to be recognized because my words were me, the only me I had.
The body keeps nudging. Tiny letters tumble through the tributaries that are my network of veins. I feel them in my feet as much as I hear them in my head. I have to keep going.
This vulnerable life of placing words together and offering them. The ache to be loved for words that are scrawled across my arms. I used to keep them covered but no more.
Words are stitched into my eyebrows and flake off into my eyes. I see words.
I live on the edge of fear but still give them to you. Here they are.

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