a poem a day for a year #155

by Amy Turn Sharp


Wallace Stevens dictated his poems to his secretary
line by line in his insurance agency office.

the sun pounded through the window
and the lady twisted her ankles
in tiny circles as she took his words

was she pretty
smart
tempting
did she appreciate
blackbirds
Tennessee jars
modernism

did he look at her when the words pushed from his mouth
dropped from his lips
or did he sit with his back to her
in a brown leather chair
he must have trusted her
or cared nothing for her
no middle ground with poets
really
ecstasy
apathy

did she think
my god this man is a poet
I am sitting near the poet

or
did she think
my god this man is an insurance man
did she know he drank too much one night in Key West
and had a fist fight with Hemingway

or

did she just go home at night
clock out
climb on her lover and set sail to the words
the words fresh in her ear
the words that imagined all