Instructions for Writing a Poem
—First line after Amy Crane Johnson
by Jennifer Finstrom
You start beyond the field in back of my house.
Never mind that this is the city.
Never mind that I don’t live in a house.
Stand still for a moment and listen. The mice
run through the weeds at your feet,
crying in their small, shrill voices.
Their shabby coats don’t keep out
winter. The seeds they hoard do not
protect them. Wind comes, and makes
its own hoard of husks and bones.
Never mind that this field doesn’t end.
Cross it anyway. Carry nothing in your hands.
Previously published in Threshold LIterary Magazine.
PAINTING:The Barbed Noose with the Mice by Paul Klee (1923).
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this poem approximately 10 years ago, and reading it again during the pandemic, its absence of people feels even more relevant.
View original post 72 more words