Tilt a curved muse backward.
Slip a hand between her veins
and extract the poems.

Keep them tightly bound
in a shatter-proof container
sewn into the lining of an
unsuspecting person's chest.

Make love to that person everyday.
Record the patterns of her groanings
and play them into a mirror that reflects
them into a clear basin filled with water.

Observe their swimming.
When they are still, force
open their mouths and
suck out the vowels.

Thread them onto a well-waxed
chord pulled from the back of
someone else's throat
and pray for poetry.

Rebecca Cook
REBECCA COOK is a teacher (the lowly adjunct/underpaid/subordinate variety at the moment) of composition, ESL writing, and the humanities at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She has had poems in Southern Humanities Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, America and in other journals. She has work forthcoming in Long Shot and Spoon River. Her essay, "Soaping the Stream," published in the May 2002 issue of Northwest Review, has been nominated for a 2002 Pushcart Prize.