How To Write a Poem

by Cindy Huyser

pluck a flight feather
from a large bird. To do this,
you must grasp the animal
and yank firmly. It will bite you.

shear the end of the feather
at an angle, dip it in
darkest ink. Drive the tip
through the corrugated sheet
of thought and memory. This will hurt
both the feather and your hand.

You must
drive the quill through
the whole black piece until
it pierces every layer, becomes
inseparable. Prepare a cardboard box,
a mattress of sandpaper.

Lie down
upon it: quivering quill,
broken barbs, bent metal
corrugation. Notice
the ink stains on your hands.

©2008 Cindy Huyser
First publication: Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Spring/Summer 2009
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