Poet Jane Hirshfield said "... the feeling I have about poem-writing (is) that it is always an exploration, of discovering something I didn't already know.  Who I am shifts from moment to moment, year to year.  What I can perceive does as well.  A new poem peers into mystery, into whatever lies just beyond the edge of knowable ground."

I bring a different poem to the writing classes each week, not only to inspire but to introduce new poets to the group members.

Shelter by Kim Addonizio

It's noisy here.  The kids run around, screaming, their mothers 
slap them and they cry. I have the bottom bunk, I hang a blanket
from the bed above me privacy. In the middle of the night
it's finally quiet. I lie awake and think about goals. Sheryl, the worker, says I
need some. She says What do you want Rita? and I say peace and
quiet, maybe someplace sunnier than here. I say I'd like to have
a dog. A big one, a retriever or shepherd with long soft fur.

What else? she says. I remember my dad's garden, how I used to
like sitting with him while he weeded, putting my toes in the dirt.
He grew tomatoes, corn, peas. There was a rosebush, too, once
he let me pick a big rose and there was a spider in it, I got scared
and shook it and the petals went all over me and he laughed. He showed me how to put my thumb over the hoze nozzle so it
sprayed. Sheryl says I could garden. I think about the coleus
Jimmy and I had, how I would take cuttings, put them in water
and they'd grow more flowers. But then they all died. At night I listen to everybody sleep around me, some people
snoring, some starting to say something and then stopping.
It's pitch-dark behind the blanket. I try to see it sunny,
a yard with a dog lying down under a tree. I try to smell
warm tomatoes. Curl my toes in the sheets. Try to sleep. ~ from Jimmy & Rita (BOA Editions, 1996)


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