“Letter to a Young Poet” by Kerri Webster

Do whatever it takes to rest. When sorrow
sits on your chest, give him a lick. I have no clue
if I’m old or young. I think you’re a young lady
who should know I’ve never been to a castle,
though I did spend a day at the Climatron and,
after, scooped lotus pods from the mud. They
didn’t dry well. I wish you well. It’s possible
for a year to forget where it left itself. Don’t
worry. The trees immolate. My waking dreams
involve shoeing horses, pounding silver sheet
into a lake. “A match burning in a crocus”: I’d feed
children to wolves to be so precise. My house
blinks all night with small lights. I know you know
what I mean. I love incandescence the way
some women love God. Where you are, is it
gone? Do all the lights hum in sad tubes? I seam
the hour to the hour, flee parties like a woman
might flee killer bees. Go to sleep. Was a girlhood,
some hitchhiking, a man like a Viking stirring
polenta on an island in another century several
cataclysms ago: blink of an eye. Take the State
for a patron, but not for a wife. If sometimes
I seem not here, it’s not dreaminess; it’s fear.
If sometimes I don’t hear, it’s not celestial
ringing, but this inner ear thing I’ve had since
I lived in the city. At Babel, all the workers
knew the Milky Way spread like fat between meat
but felt zero need to say so. Look at something
till your eyes burn. Pitcher plants drown
their prey: not euphemism. The kettle’s burning.
A woman felt called by don’t-know-what
scratching like plumeria inside her. Abide, abide
says alluvial time. Trickster, long con, light
throws its nets over the yard. These words reek
of eucalyptus, bathtub gin. When the sky
turns absinthe, take cover. Say you’re watching
the play where the woman turns into a tree and
suddenly, first act: tornado sirens. Her soul is sap.
Water pools on the floor. Ask yourself: do I love
the woman I’m sitting with? Don’t get gyred into sky.
It’s lonely there. Listen: the book is always burning.
So’s the city. The water on stage is prop water,
can’t put out anything. Blink if you can hear me.