Transfigure

A poems starts
Imagine your mother was a turtle.

Immediately I am lost.
My mother was way too fast to be a turtle.

I seek permission to change the poem
so it says, Imagine your mother was a jackrabbit.

Maybe I will edit the poem
in the margins. In pencil.

In ink once I am sure I prefer my edits
over the poet’s original lines.

No. Not all of the book’s poems.
Just this one.

I mean at fifty-five my mother
sprinted across tennis courts

to stab at drop shots
and deftly returned them on most occasions.

In the second part of the poem
the author asks me to imagine my mother

as an oyster. A bivalve of all things.
A water filter attached to a dock piling.

Again. Something non-moving.
The poem has no flow.

When the poet, in the third part
suggests I imagine my mother

as a cicada, that non-stop droning sound
is perfect for the lectures I received.

Her usual talking at me
instead of with me.

I should reread the poem
from the start.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

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