Poets / by Karl Cronin

For years I asked my friends to bring me books of poetry for my birthday

I thought that if I read enough poems, if I stuffed my mouth with the words of these great wordsmiths, I could learn to speak with their lilting, soaring metres and rhymes

But, instead, I opened my mouth only to watch them, one by one, fall to the floor

A few had begun to slip down my throat
I dug my fingers back until I reached them, and, covered in warm mucous, I flung them on the pile collecting at my feet

You can't eat the words of poets

You can only spend time with them
Letting them reshape how you see
until the feeling rises inside of you
rising up like a flame that burns you from the inside
until you can't take it any more
and you begin to sing