The best poetry teacher

I ever had abjured poems

that sounded like poetry.

Azure blue skies, pristine white clouds

and iridescent bird feathers unfurling.,

were as repugnant as luminous stars

shining in pellucid white moonlight.

In my dream,

I offer to write about the pang

of loneliness in black and white

Ingmar Bergman films.

If Mr. Death comes banging on my door

to grab me by the collar,

I wont let him in.

I plead: “Let me write about

my delicious first kisses,

and mysterious missions.”

My teacher reminds me my poems

lack coherence. He looks more dead than alive

with a face and body ravaged by cancer.

Yet in the dream, he still smiles and says hello,

and revise, revise, as if he isn’t on the verge

of saying goodbye.

If only I could be as unintelligible

as Jorie Graham. But, all I can write

about is a magnificent oak tree

with limbs trimmed every year

that now reaches for the sky

with or without it’s greenery.

The stout heft of its trunk

could be used to build a ship

that will sail me out of my dream.