Nicole Cartwright Denison The 2River View, 7.3 (Spring 2003)

Poem for Wendy Bishop When I Am Struggling

standing far from the tower

I fling gifts upward—
my skin packaged tightly around
tenure and the ache of composition

slowly, she begins, becomes, unfolds me

eating away the blue-black cancers of rhetoric and theory
lapping the marrow of doubt and
slurping the last flow of a bleeding heart
she grins wicked with the sharp tongue
and the even teeth of a critic, a stoic,
an ancient citizenry
waiting to stone me,
unpaged, unlined
shoved to the margins

of life
and writing

alone in a classroom of ivy
and gaping mouths,
left gurgling and choking on
words they cannot write

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