Tap carefully at the end of each small beam
Testing, like a child who pushes on the
wainscot, seeking the secret space
behind a concealed panel,
Thinking she is in a mysterious story.
And when you find one whose looseness
announces that it is not
load bearing, ease it out slowly
lest you topple the tower.
Then, when you have freed it from
the stack, put it carefully back
on top, to form the foundation
for another story.
I confess, I’m not really paying close attention to the game
after each turn I return
to my computer, for I was reading and eating
When the children plopped their game down next
to my plate where crumbs of baguette lingered and smears
of fluffy cheese and tangy artichoke pesto.
Now it is Lucy’s turn, the little
one who just a bit
ago shrieked, “I’m scared!”
as she imagined the crash and crumble and boom.
But now she’s bold, having seen it come
down several times now
once even by my hand that could not
save the edifice.
She deftly chooses her mark
batting away interfering brother’s fingers
and eases it out, leaving a little hollow,
and triumphantly puts her block in its topmost place.
Just so, even now, I’m constructing this toppling tower of words
Testing each one
Which will give and which
will bear the load of meaning?
Moving this line here and that word there
as I climb boldly higher
towards the muses’ fire.
Carefully, I chide my editor,
Too much tweaking and it
all comes down
With a crash.
And all that’s left
is a jumble of words on the plate with the
abandoned tomato pulp
and the smear of cheese.