How To Write A Poem

First, forget the moon. Forget your lover.
I want you blind to weather. Stars. All kinds

of water. Start with I, with you. With what
you know. No reimaginings. No Salomes

with milky thighs, serrated knives. No
penitent Medusas. Writers, salt your

fields. No roses. No dead fathers.
No mermaids or other mythological

creatures. Imagine there was never
an ocean. A season. A constellation.

I know it’s not what you want to hear,
but your grief is common. Your joy

is not that beautiful. The poets have left you
nothing but shoe-buckles. Blue-

bottles. Bathroom tile. Everything you want
to do has been done. Your heart is glass,

and the moon’s a cutlass. Pompeii
accumulates its hundredth layer of ash.

Is it hopeless? Call yourself a writer! Start here:
it’s dark out; the dock floats in the black.




Cheryl Pearson is the author of Oysterlight (Pindrop Press) and Menagerie, (The Emma Press). Her poems have appeared in publications including The Guardian, Mslexia, Frontier, The Moth, and Interpreter’s House, and she has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.