Writing a poem is like modeling in clay

you start out with nothing, or rather, a lump of clay,  a misshapen baseball

then you start  shaping something: a dog? it’s beginning to shape up like a nice looking dog

but no, maybe it’s a wolf.  yes,  a wolf.  but there’s something lacking fierceness in it

wait, it’s a fox

a fox indeed

so you model a fox.  it takes hours, and then you are done

but really, you’ve just gotten started

you start taking off all the uneven edges to make the fox smooth

you make the tail longer to match the nose

you make the eyes round to offset the sharp tail

you trim the excess fat from the legs

hey, if you indent the mouth a little, there’s a bit of a grin … and you go with the grin

a Cheshire cat grin

then you redo the face to resemble a White Rabbit:  a White Rabbit with a Cheshire cat grin

then you reshape the body and tail to match the blue dress and white bib Alice wears in the Disney cartoon

and you put a WD in tiny print to see if anyone gets it

finally you add a branch for the fox-Cheshire cat-Alice dress thing you’ve created to sit on

and you’re done

except you come back latter and keep chipping away: smoother, softer, more beautiful

and when you are afraid you have taken too much away, you stop

you’re not done.  you just stop

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