CAROLYN CAINES

Poets love the medium…
the sharpened pencil
leaving letters on clean paper,

the old fountain pen poised
over fine-textured vellum,
a ballpoint pen bought in Vienna

making secret marks in a notebook.
Secret letters began as a game in school
with letters printed in the air.

Do like this! the teacher calls as she makes
invisible O’s and bumpy M’s. Very good.
A volunteer? she asks. So many!

One-by-one they offer up the slate
of their backs, shaking in anticipation.
Gently, firmly, teacher writes a letter

on quivering flesh, and a guess is made.
Yes or no, the tablet giggles
and makes way for the next.

To learn more about our contributors, please visit the CONTRIBUTOR BIO page