Because Emily Dickinson lay in wait
     she could not stop,
          she kept right on writing

Writing even on some days
     just to get the ing out, the write in
          her words polished

lined up like obedient children
     in a maternal playground
          under the branches of a witness tree

when she wasn’t crossing the t in nature
     she dotted the i’s in familiar
          without fear of feeling

she opened us like handpicked fruit
     ungiven to lofts,
          observant from a second-story window

a soft overview
     without fear of falling
          below the rain clouds, but above the cries

unconformed, each story that rested
     she undressed to the bones
          then went to her closet for robes of refinement

uncaged, each songbird flew home
     to be wrapped in a clean white sheet
          like precious seeds, she scattered a few

     with a bird’s eye & a bird’s throat
          she made us see what she alone could tell

to point out the swelling behind the gossamer
     the sun setting behind the glass houses
          she saw through us and through herself

below her open window
     without fear of fooling
          age & beauty hug in morning’s second light

hope perches in every soul
     now her window is shut
          her legacy is to write without gloves

fingers & brains conspired in the cold
     warmed in the fleece of her fortitude
          dressed & undressed, without fear of failing

— Arnie Reisman