Practice | R a s m a H a i d r i | Rasma Haidri


Over there the window

shows morning—gray sky 

proves the earth has been turning.                            

Here nothing moves. A cat. 

A child asleep. A pot of tea. 

The closed cover of my writing journal.

I do the tai chi form Preparation… Beginning…

all the way to Single Whip.     

It’s all I know.  

Assume the Spirit of the Crane, the instructor said, 

but the shadow I cast was broken. When is a crane—?

When is unbalance flying? 

I asked a man what he does for a living and 

he said, I used to be a poet. Why used? 

Because I am no longer writing. 

I am a poet not writing. Days of not 

writing turn into weeks, months,

until the taste of poet 

is a wet pill on my tongue, writer

a remarkable piece of clothing I wouldn’t 

even know where to buy.

My child hits her head and sick 

soaks my non-writing hands that hold her to my body.

Her breath is small cranes flying.

When is a poet—?

I slice onions, comb the cat, teach a child

to erase words without ripping.

My hands cup water to my baby’s head. 

In the window—gray sky. Tomorrow

I will start again from nothing.

Winner of the 2018 Ars Poetica Prize at Riddled With Arrows