Summer Bones

Typically when people go to a flea market, especially one of the biggest flea markets in the city, they pick up vintage dresses or comic books or a jar full of glass marbles all colors of the rainbow.

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What did I buy? A cow skull. To be honest, I was between cow and coyote, but ultimately, the cow seemed more impressive.

I have a thing for bones. I don’t know where it comes from, but I’m a bit of a scavenger of the natural world anyway. I have several, what my husband calls, curiosity jars that are full of seed pods and birds nests and stones of all shapes and sizes.

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I feel like I spend a lot of time “collecting,” whether it be physical items or just cataloging images, ideas, thoughts in my head. This is often how a poem starts for me, from one of “my collections” I pull something out and start to draft. I don’t really feel like there is any consistency to these collections while I’m cataloging items, but when go back and look at the drafts I’ve generated I realize that there are definitely common themes or images. Sometimes an item in my collection will sit in my brain or journal for a really, really long time before I do anything with it, but eventually it makes it way out onto the page.

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The last few months I’ve only drafted, sometimes badly, and not revised much. I wrote poems in April for National Poetry Month. I wrote poems in May and March and February. All drafts are rough, but they exist and now it’s time to figure out if they’re ever going to move beyond being an item in a collection. It turns out this past fall/spring semester I was thinking a lot about children, which isn’t surprising given as I have a two year old of my own. These drafts contain items from many other collections as well: lines from Elizabeth Bishop poems, red sweaters, blueberries, salt water, olive trees, sparrow, lines from Sappho, and on and on and on. I don’t know where a lot of these drafts are going or truthfully, if they’re going anywhere, but I suppose failed drafts are just another collection, right?

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