I committed a crime when I was young:
I threw my poems away.
The poetic police caught up with me,
they said I’d have to pay.
When I asked them how they found me,
they said I had a haunted look
from the ghosts of words discarded,
enough to fill a phantom book.
The colony was on the moon,
the mode of transport: ladder.
I had to build it myself with words;
this only made me sadder.
I had thrown my words away, you see,
so I had to go door to door
asking if anyone had spare words.
My cheeks burned ’til they were sore.
Eventually I had the words
like toaster scuttle marmalade.
They weren’t my own but they would do;
I had none that were homemade.
The ladder hooked the crescent moon,
I climbed in my bare feet.
Hands snatched at me, knives cut my skin,
how I wished I could retreat.
When I got there all I had were years
mining words from the white dust,
words from my lost writings,
words I did not trust.
The first I saw was corridor
then travel dream and trees
always time skies flown and child.
They brought me to my knees.
Happy I was to see them again,
I would reclaim my poems at last.
But they had dissolved into each other,
stray phrases floated past.
Let travel you me with always
I couldn’t piece them together
of the through the labyrinth night
my sorrow had no measure.
But whatever I found was mine to keep
so I made a little garden.
With autumn sunlight meadow and rose
my heart could now unharden.
When my time was up they found me,
said I was free to move to Mars,
but I told them I would stay here
in my hut made out of stars.