I want my poems to slap you in the face


and shake you by the shoulders
and shout Wake Up!
and if they refuse to be so violent
and so valiant
and so woke,
and decide instead to speak of

a willow’s wisdom
or tears mourning the dead
or in love cliches,

and touch your heart
and lift your spirit
and make you smile

… I’ll be content

and if the utterances of my fingertips stutter
and all I create is squirrelly chatter
and it means nothing to any but myself
and I begin to suspect my poems

are no match for the flutter
of a butterfly’s wings

… I’ll be content

and proclaim even the red squirrel that harangues
and belittles passers-by merits respect
and deserves to be left to collect its nuts
and be content in its passion.

©2023 Kenneth W. Arthur