Elusion (a poem)

Written Thursday evening during a poetry reading.

I think about words
before they’re spoken

I’m struck by a feeling of confinement
now that they have been removed from consideration
still part of my vocabulary
but consigned to the penalty box
until people have forgotten
the last time they appeared

I think about phrases
I could never construct myself
but which sound perfectly natural
the moment I hear them
and about the ones that fall apart
when I try to put them to paper
not a failure of short-term memory
but reluctance of the words themselves
to be arranged in someone else’s order

The only way they can resist
is to disappear

I think about the possibilities
the ones I’ve captured
the ones that escaped
the ones that camouflaged themselves too well
so that I catch but a glimpse
and am left wanting more

(30 May 2019—posted May 31)

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