Why Do You Write These Poems?

by John McKernan

I hear the voice
Of friends mumbling

I am not writing this poem
I am erasing it….Using an Exacto knife

Scraping vowels
And consonants
From the window
Spray painted black

As I work
To carve each letter
Thin rays of light
From the sun moon stars
Flow in this room

Onto my skin and my clothing
Years ago I glowed in a dark womb
Before I slept in the open
And wore the white silk of starlight
Listening to what the flute says
The world will be saved by beauty

John McKernan grew up in Omaha Nebraska and taught for 41 years at Marshall University. Now drug-free and a retired comma herder, he lives–mostly–in West Virginia where he edits ABZ Press. His most recent book is a selected poems, Resurrection of the Dust. He has published many poems in many places–such as The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, Paris Review and elsewhere.