Two Poems

by Andy Mitchell

The Book of Blank Pages

Who is your favorite poet?”

I get that a lot.

Who is my favorite poet, I wonder.

There are so many.

Dylan Thomas was my first.

Just as I was catching the bug

He showed me a butterfly

Rare in beauty, flying out into an open field:

A milkweed, a wanderer, a monarch(!)

Then there was Sylvia Plath

Who stung me and died

In the year of my birth.

Oh, but there are so many.

Whose book would I take with me

To a deserted island? Whose words

Would best sustain me? Who

Is my bread and my wine?

The verse of Edward Hirsch

Never fails to nourish, its humble flight

Seeming ever thankful for its wings.

In fact his special orders account

For this present task, cotton

candy being quicker than liquor.

Oh, but there are so many, mostly dead

And buried like Rossetti’s love

Songs for his wife.

They exhumed them;

Excavated Sappho;

Unearthed Emily’s room.

…going down and down

For the good turf. Digging…”

I came up with Larkin, Lorca,

Berryman, Baudelaire. But per-

haps I would choose a book by none

Of these. Rowing out toward a mere

Lake isle, with a bottle, and a baguette,

Perhaps I would take a book of blank pages

And record my own fieldwork.

The Book of Blank Pages (short version)

They ask me whose book

I would take

To a deserted island.

I go through the list

Until I’m listless.

There really are so many.

And yet it comes down

To one in the end,

Mine, the one I’d write

If I were stranded there.

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