By Allison Joseph

If there’s a poem in you,
get it out by any means necessary—use pliers
if you must, or grab it with your bare
hands and pull, dislodging stony roots,
thorny bushes. Don’t let that poem
hunker beneath your skin, unsaid,
unshed, stuck between bones or
swallowed. If it’s too weak to come
out, too fluttery and unstable, feed
yourself lines from other, stronger
poems until your poem grows thick-
thighed, sable-tongued, ready to strut,
sultry, agile. If your poem is minnow-
slippery, just as quick, you must move
quickly too, casting your net wide
but not letting your poem tangle
in its nylon. No excuses when a poem
burgeons, nascent, budding on the cusp
of your lips, terrace of your tongue.
Don’t let that poem sail from you,
send you a postcard later. Go get it
now, before it scurries away,
scattering words in its wake.


Reprinted with permission of the author.