How does a poem begin?
It begins with time. I have to slip away from my young children, and somehow stay uninterrupted for five minutes. I wrote a poem recently after watching my spouse till our small backyard garden—it reminded me of the red diesel tiller, a monster of a machine, that my father used to drag from the barn and drive through my family’s (very large!) garden. I had that thought while standing in the afternoon sunshine, holding the electric tiller’s cord to keep it from the blades. Later, when cleaning the roots from the blades. In the next day or so, I finally made it to my computer, upstairs and tucked in one of the quieter corners of the house. The poem, “Watching My Love Till the March Garden,” begins:
It’s nothing like the red, diesel-powered tiller
that my father steered each spring—the light,
electric blades in my lover’s hands, beset by roots.
The red tiller roared and flung dirt, trailed a cloud
of blue smoke like an angry god in the garden.