Couch Poem

I tend to agree with Ted Kooser when
he says you should never send a poem into
the world with its shirt untucked.

But what if the poem invites us in?

Maybe there’s a place for
unfinished drafts written by
a tired mama on her sofa after dark.
Poems in pajamas, words in a hurry.
Fragments of documentation,
the absurd and the full-of-delight.
Here on this worn out couch with
uncomfortable springs,
I scribble out vulnerable messes—

an exercise in paying attention,
in gratitude,
in giving the critic inside
a drink of water and sending her
back to bed.

Found this earlier draft of the same poem, and I can’t decide which version I like more:

Ted Kooser advises
not to send poems into the world
with their shirts untucked.
I agree wholeheartedly, but perhaps there
Is also a place for drafts
Written by a tired mama on her sofa after dark.
Words underlined for later.
Perhaps one day I will come back to these scribbles
to clean them up and make them more presentable.
But right now they spill out of notebooks and files,
and I would rather send them off
With love than hide them away inside.
Take these for what they are:
vulnerable messes in disguise,
Fragments of delight

This is what I have to offer—my heart,
my sleeves, my shirt untucked.

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