Poetry is like really good jazz
you hear when calling the power company.
It reminds you that you’re not the only one
whose life is on hold.
It’s a child’s understanding of grace.
It picks up voices that have fallen
or have forgotten how to fly.
It exists in the purgatory of your mouth
Poets chase upset people into rooms.
They’ve lost themselves
in their lover’s hair
coughing up hair-balls of confrontation.
They run up the curbs of your desires.
They aren’t afraid of the forbidden things
in the basement of your mind
the things you’ve forgotten you’ve buried,
They unearth them.
Poet’s heads are weak
and their lips are heavy.
If you ever catch hold of poetry
keep it in the bushes covered
with webs and spiders,
caught like pictures
hanging from the wall.
Keep it a flowing flame,
the center of the universe
caught in your hands.
Let it be the thing
you leave behind
after everything else.
Being a poet and suffering
from a mental illness
are alike, in that,
no one believes you
until you’ve made the papers.
Aigner Loren Wilson is a queer Black SFWA, HWA, and Codex writer. Her work has appeared in Arsenika, Terraform, Rue Morgue, and more. She was listed on the honors list for the Otherwise Fellowship award for 2019. She also writes or edits for Strange Horizons, Nightlight Horror Podcast, Oly Arts, Discover Pods, and more. To sign up for her writing craft newsletter, click here.