In order to write a sestina,
you must start by being unsure,
quickly switching from cold to hot
to cold and to hot again,
the temperature being like a cat
in the Sahara desert at dusk.
Sit on your porch at dusk,
watch the clouds create their sestinas.
As you watch, allow your cat
beside you, her tongue lapping unsurely
from a cup. Look up again,
wonder if milk would be hot
if left out. It is hot;
There is a heat about dusk.
Forget. Forget about the poem again,
Look around. Everywhere, there are sestinas.
Not just in the cool, unsure
ripples your cat
makes, the gentle clink clink your cat’s
teeth make as she tips her hot
tongue against her cup. In unsure
clouds, sestinas. Not just in dusk
either. And mosquitoes make stinging sestinas.
Crumple a sheet of paper. Again.
Now throw it out, again and again.
Eventually, sensing a toy, your cat
will chase it. Wonder what a sestina
really is. The pen will feel hot
in your hand. Take some paper. Dusk
is now ending; Be absolutely sure
this time you will write it. Surely,
you will crumple it up again.
Don’t get a flashlight, it’s still dusk;
the lines are blurry. Your cat
will inspect you, her paws hot
against your arm. Write. This sestina
won’t write itself. No sestina does. Surely
by now you know that, how hot the pen feels, how again
you are unsure. And when dusk is over and your cat is bored it will be done.