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Poem: Romancing the Poem 


A pencil is pinched in the grip of a hand,
his organs squeezed until he feels
as if his heart is in his eraser
and his intestines are in his lead.
Each letter looped or straightened
stubs his toes, drags his heels;
each erasure balds his scalp
in rough, uneven patches.
When the line is finished
he is dropped with a thud to the paper
where he nurses a tremendous headache.
The paper is none too pleased either:
He’s a dull No. 2, heavy across her abdomen.

Speaking of...

  • Poetry edited by Phillip Levine.


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